March 2006 Archives

Dodgy Websites

News today, on the BBC, that a recent survey of government and council showed many to have HTML errors and cause problems for disabled people.

What surprises me, reading the article, is how some of the errors could be made. Having recently started using Macromedia's Dreamweaver, with all it's gizmo's and gadgets, replacing the venerable MS Notepad, I can't see how anyone can get it wrong. The tool highlights problems, offers corrections, and in some cases fixes them for you if you ask it to :-o It's certainly made life much easier for me at work, and, once there's time, it'll make life outside of work easy too ;-)

Recyling Champs!

News at work today that we're recycling more than Europe! Turns out that the average UK bod recycles 19% of their waste, EU Member States peps 26%, and us lot at work a staggering 37% :-D

I've been recycling at home for 5-6 years now. And it's surprising how much less you throw away in the old black bag. It's made easier by Stevenage Borough Council having lots of recycling boxes and bins now, with everything from tins to garden refuse.

Of course, it's saving the company a packet, since it reduces the waste and corresponding Landfill Tax charged. Wonder if that saving will creep into our pay awards in April ;-)

Lucky Number

Went to see Lucky Number Slevien last night using my Orange Wednesday discount.

What a great film. Strange format, comes across as a comedy, and then changes. Won't go into detail, I know what it's like when someone spoils the end (Darth Vader is..... Nooooo!). But if you get chance, go and get down the pics to see it. Bruce Willis is typical Bruce Willis, if you're wondering, and not Mr "Why Me" of Die Hard fame.

How Do You Get Here?

Interesting, looking into the stats for the site again. Except this time, thanks to the little counter down at the bottom from WebStats4U, I've an indication of how people outside the normal readership (thats you two ;-)) stumble across the sites.

For example, and not surprisingly, many people recently have come across here looking for TSR.2 info. But some find this place while hunting for information about the infamous Needler Sensations sweets. Or the truth about stag do's.

My personal site is hit 24/7 by people looking for Primavera experts, owh, and anyone daft enough to own a Mk1 Golf GTI or 4...

Jules site is found by people searching for clues and answers to meningiomas, in particular meningothelial meningiomas and alternative treatments. Also, strangely, the site scores high in the search for Weston Road Cemetery.

You can have a look if you follow the link from the graphic below, and select the option under My Stats.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Car's still not playing ball. After last weekend's slow trip North, ripping out all the cooling system, and coming back South with what appeared to be it all fixed, it went all Pete Tong again :-(

Looks like the thermoswitch isn't cutting in properly, and so the systems overheating and boiling over. Thankfully it's not as serious as a complete failure, and having purged the system, there doesn't appear to be any air trapped anywhere.

Seems okay on short journeys now, least going to and from the shops. Thankfully I've no long journeys to plan for in the near future, so will no doubt be spending a bit more time investigating next weekend ;-)

A Cracking Day Out

Sy's birthday bash yesterday. Wasn't sure if I'd be up for it, having had the last 3 days off with just about every aliment possible. So took it easy, and wrapped up warm ;-)

Started off at Our Mutual Friend, everyone meeting up before the big game. Stevenage v's Gravesend. They didn't play that well, but luck was on their side, and they won 2-0. It was then a quick walk back to the pub before collecting the stragglers and heading down the Old Town for a curry. And a chance to clear away the cold with something a little spicy ;-)

Left the party-goers around 9:30, having had more than enough of it. Sy was well and truely on his way to having a night he wouldn't remember, so making sure someone was there to get him home safely, we left ;-)

All in all another cracking birthday for Mr Older, can't wait 'til next year now ;-)

Body Collapsing

Well, it's now developed into a full blown cold. Sore throat and running nose greeting me this morning. Thankfully the 'other part' of the illness has subdued, so I can afford to travel downstairs. A cuppa and some toast beckons, you understand.


Not going into detail, but I've eaten something, or caught something bad. Suffice to say I'm spending a lot of time upstairs, near the bathroom :-(

Samba's revenge, if you catch my drift...


There's always some sort of junk mail, or mailshot, hand delivered by someone, to greet me at home on return from work. Advertising how easy it is to sell your house, valetting services for the car, household cleaning, and even nappy cleaning services.

Imagine, then, on getting home tonight, how I chuckled. Whoever delivered this one obviously can't see beyond the end of their nose. A brochure for high quality remote control garage doors...

If only.


Made it back in one piece, and it looks like the car's behaving now. Whoo-hoo :-D

Almost There

Well, after yesterday's fun, I knew today was going to be just as eventful. Cooked brekky, cuppa, and off I went.

Fortunately there was enough of the broken thread to get a hold on. And with a set of thread extractors, drill, gas torch, the first one fell out after a few hours twisting and banging.

The second one snapped in half again, so I ended up having to drill all the way through. Luckily that one wasn't an enclosed thread, so it soon came out once I'd broken through to the other side.

With both threads clear, it was a simple enough job retapping and then finding a couple of bolts in Ian's huge store of bits n bobs. One of the great things about coming home and working on the car is having access to just about everything you need, without having to pop down Halfords for it (17mm sockets for example ;-)).

Job done, time to hit the road and get home. Fingers crossed it's sorted and ain't going to heat up no more.


Well, got here, eventually, at about 11pm last night. And just managed last orders for Mark's 18th. Bailey doesn't even remember me taking him home :-O

Journey took ages :-( The temperature needle drifting up and down with scary randomness.

So, with a chance of getting some work done, set to outside GT this morning, and started stripping all the pipes and cooling system. Then the thermostat housing bolts snapped.... BUGGER :-~x

Ian thankfully towed me back to Mum's, and we chucked the car on the drive. A job for tomorrow. I'm off out to drown my sorrows now. Pick things up in the morning, as they say ;-)

You're That Canadian...

Syriana. Went and saw it last night. And, er, well, not sure exactly how to describe it. Good film, I guess, from the point of view of recent political views.

George Clooney, Matt Daemon, and Alexander Siddig, amongst others, star. Matt even comes across as a convincing character ;-)

Won't spoil it too much, and won't say whether it's a film to see or not. But be prepared for what to me was a strange ending. Not what you'd expect, at all. Which, I have to say, wasn't what I was expecting from the directorship of that ugly man, Mr Clooney...

A Race For Life

There's someone else at work doing a run for Cancer Research. It's part of the Race for Life, the UK's biggest women-only fundraising event. A 5km run, with sponsorship raising money for Cancer Research UK.

Another worthwhile cause, and if you've some spare cash, drop by the site and add to her total ;-)

Off Upt' North Once More

Another trip North to sort out how we plan on using Primavera in production planning. And, no doubt, an excuse to try another curry house, and malt whiskey from the hotel bar ;-)

Forgot to mention last time that we used the M6 Toll. Amazing. Hardly any traffic, and we sailed up and back down in next to no time. Worth the money, even tho we weren't paying. I'd be happy paying myself to be honest. It made what's normally a hellish journey fighting through the traffic round Birmingham, quite pleasant :-D)

What was surprising, though, was the lack of traffic on the road, and yet how busy the services were. And, unlike some of the M6 services (Jonathan knows what I mean), these ain't anything to write home about.

70 Years of Spitfires

70 years since the maiden flight of the Spitfire this week.

Celebrations included a re-enactment of the first test flight over Southampton. Watching it at the weekend reminded me of the many airshow flypasts, there's something about the Spitfire roaring overhead. Must get to a show this year, especially with Duxford so close by.

Airfix are planning a whole raft of kits and gift sets, including a 1/48th scale Mk1 with various options to build early and late models. I know what I'll be spending my free flying hours on once they hit the streets ;-)

I Know I've Been Going On A Bit...

The special Classic Club Airfix TSR.2 finally arrived today. And, as expected, the canvas print is amazing. All I need to do now, is find a suitable frame to do it justice.

Owh, and before anyone does say, "Shut up about the b*&%dy Airfix TSR.2 already..." have a gander at Google's airfix tsr.2 search results ;-) [UPDATE] Worth noting how dynamic Google is, my page isn't number 1 anymore, more like number 30!

A TRIC Night Indeed!

Back, and awake, and just about recovered, from yesterday's TRIC Awards in London. A fantastic day, meeting lots of stars, and having lots of free drinks and food ;-) Not what I'm normally used to, the last big events like this I've attended being work charity do's which I've worked at, rather than sat back and enjoyed.

Was also an opportunity to meet with some of the people involved in the UK domestic appliance repair sector, and how much G.T. Electrical are admired for their customer service and approach to repairs. Also discovering I've a bit of a reputation for simplistic and eye-catching web design :-O Must be doing something right then ;-)

A fuller story, and winners list can be found on the BBC website. And, some photo's of the stars, and Nige, will be uploaded as soon as I get the Bluetooth working for more than 5 minutes.

I Spoke Too Soon

Car overheated on the way home from work. Another pipe split :-(

Thankfully, this is one I got hold of, so I could replace it and refill the system. Guess I'll be replacing all the other pipes on Wednesday whilst nursing a hangover from Tuesday's night out ;-)

At A Loose End

So, with plans for Ultimate Dubs in the bin, I was at a bit of a loose end today. The local GSF store's not open Sunday's, so no chance of doing anything worthwhile on the car. So, an opporunity to investigate why my Hoover vac has suddenly started screaming every time I try to do the vacuuming.

Now, it did originally die with a burnt out motor. And being one of these "Not A Dyson" bagless vacs, Nige had said it'll more than likely be a blocked motor filter. And, sure enough, the filter I found was certainly blocked. Full of dog hairs, plaster dust, and crap. Notice I said "found".

Anyway, having done all that I was assured of years of problem free suction. Except, last weekend, cleaning the place ready for inviting Dawn round for dinner, it went all "ARRGGHHHHHHHH" on me. Hmmm, must be a filter problem.

Now, as I'm sure any bloke reading this will vouch, instructions are for the weak. There's no point in a manual, except to teach the female population how to use something. After all, a man invented it, so all men should know how to operate it. Well, if I'd read my instructions I'd have known there's a further exhaust filter buried up in the handle of the vac. And THAT filter was really blocked up. So much so, a piece of carved granite would've been of more use.

Thank god I can order all these bits online and get them delivered to G.T. Electrical. Okay, no cleaning for the next 2 weeks (hurrah :-D), but I'll have another exciting rebuild job when I bring back my box of bits from Hull ;-)

If Only Everything In Life....

Well, having set off North to Telford for Ulitmate Dubs, I suppose it was inevitable that something had to go wrong. After all, the last few long journeys in the car have resulted in disaster. Either road delays, or breakdowns. And this was no different.

Looks like an overheating problem AGAIN :-( One of the pipes I replaced, admittedly with a second-hand item, split and started a slow leak. So, with my 5 litres of water in the car, another old sock, and tie-wraps, I bandaged it all back together and limped home. With only 3 old pipes left, I think I need to sort out replacing them all. Another job for next week.

Having got back, and on advice of a friend in the club, I set to and flushed the complete system in reverse. Stripped out the radiator, and left that to soak in descaler. Although, looking at it, I reckon a new one is in order. All back together, and as of about an hour ago, it all seemed to be holding together.

All in all not how I wanted to be spending my Saturday. In fact, I should now be sat in a bar drinking beer, and not, as I am now, getting ready to jump in a bath and have a long soak.

If only everything in life was as reliable....:-(

It All Started 3 Years Ago...

Today, 2 years ago, we got bad news. Where's the time going? I can remember it like yesterday, sitting in the consultants room at Lister, then taking time off work to go around and see everyone, tell them what had happened. And then preparing for the trip to hospital.

They say time is a healer, but never how long...

I'll Shut Up Then

Airfix - BAC TSR.2After all that complaining about not getting my exclusive kit on time, and still waiting, news on the Airfix forums of what the exclusive print looks like. And, as you can see, it looks pretty smart don't you think?

A2 canvas, depicting the supersonic dash made as part of the trials workup, shortly before the whole thing was cancelled, and everything smashed up.

Funnily enough, Nige was commenting only the other weekend about sticking another picture up in the living room. And I think I know where this can go, when it arrives ;-)

Find Out About Anyone For Free

Got passed this link at work today, a website that doesn't require registration, and will show you details, addresses, and how to get to someone's house :-O

Have a look at B4USearch and see what it says about you.

You'll be glad to know you can email the site and ask them to remove your details if you want.

About Alan Bell

Lapsed: electronic engineer, scout leader, project controller.
Now: Oracle Primavera training consultant, business support manager, occasional website designer.

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