July 2007 Archives

Happy Days For GT!

News from Microsoft that the next version of MS Works will be free. Which is good news for the family business.

Not too surprising, with Google and OpenOffice amongst others, offering free business solutions for the SOHO market. Hopefully the ad's won't be too annoying, it's bad enough with all these popups on the internet. Just need to sort out getting Linux working, and the whole IT system will be free :-D

Got Me MP3 Player!

Having spent the weekend sorting out Nigel and Laura's new Nokia N80's, flashing the firmware, loading all the useful apps I've found, and a few MP3's, squeezed onto the standard memory card. It got me thinking, I've a 2Gb card, just how much music could I get on mine? So, tonight, I set to and sorted out my N80.

Over 400Mb of images have been taken off, and a load of Sting, Coldplay, Faithless, and U2 has gone on in their place. And yes, I know, I need to get those pics up and online, this place hasn't been the same since I stopped publishing pictures of drunks, badly dancing blokes, and sleeping cats.

Of course, I've just realised, I've now become another of those in the office typing away, drifting into another world, listening to my own music. Just have to keep reminding myself I'm at work, and stop the tapping and singing ;-)

Did you see,,,

I love trawling the various news sources we get access to via work. It gives you many, many feeds, which are filtered for the business, and so filter out all the spin, and dross. One caught my eye, in The Independent, news that the use of cars by ministers has risen by nearly 8 per cent in the past year. Not what you'd expect for a government keen to emphasis it's green credentials. And more surprising that none of the other parties picked up on it. Probably because they've not got a good record for comparison, maybe?

The not-so-big surprise is the news that the Cabinet Office was the biggest spender, home to Two Jags himself, John Prescott, which used eight cars, at a cost of more than 500,000.

Also, a proposal to allow e-petitions to Parliment, sponsored by MP's. Having been involved in a number of e-petitions, that I can only see as a good thing, although it'll be open to abuse like the current system.

More importantly, for the armed forces struggling to move themselves around all the places they're being sent, is the confirmation of the order for an additional C-17 transport plane by the Defence Secretary, Des Browne. With the carrier order announced last week, it looks like the services are finally getting the necessary equipment to replace all the stuff that's being withdrawn, albet earlier than planned.

Don't Have A Cow Man!

Been following the Shambo story on the news, which came to an end today with confirmation Shambo has been destroyed.

I can understand the significance of sacred religious animals, but when it gets to the stage of risking the herd? Yes, I agree that the test isn't as definative as it should, or could be. But that's the thing with risk, and these sort of assessments. The only way to know for sure, at present, is to destroy the animal, and do a post mortem.

What I'd love to know is what do they do in other countries? Do they risk the whole herd for one animal with foot and mouth, or TB, just because it's sacred? Or, do they sacrifice the one so the many can continue? Maybe we put too much emphasis on commercialisation, and money, forcing nature to fit us, and less on the natural course of life, and the way nature wants to work itself out.

[UPDATE] That news story now tells of the post mortem, which confirms TB :-(

Spitfire's Sitting On My Lap A Lot

Everyone's been commenting when round the house, that Spitfire's gotten more friendly in the last few months. He's actually happy to sit on your lap, rather than in a corner. So, reading the BBC Online News today, should I be worried?

Were They On The Pitch?

Hull KRBeen playing around with listening to the radio over the 'net, and finally managed to get BBC Humberside to work this afternoon. And just in time to listen to the rugby. An important game for the Robins, Salford having beaten Bradford 14-10 last night and so clawed back points, bringing them within 1 point of the Robins.

They lost 20-60 to Warrington. The question? Was anyone on the pitch? After the other week's game against Catalans, and the performance I watched at Cardiff, that can be the only explaination. Doesn't bode well for next week. FC are playing Salford on Sunday, and we're up against Salford the following week. Thankfully Robins have a week off. But after this afternoon, they'll need more than that to stay up. Not that it matters, from what I can read, the franchising scheme will relegate KR anyway. No-one wants 2 teams in the city apparently :-(

And so She Sets Sail

HMS Daring's set off for it's first contractor-led sea trials. Don't think there's any involvement from our side yet, that's probably a year or so off.

Impressive ship, you can see from the Royal Navy website, it's the largest air defence destroyer ever operated by the RN. Speed sounds impressive, and despite its size it's apparently very maneuverable. Makes me proud to be British, looking at this feat of engineering and technology, a world beater. And, if rumours are true, the Americans are bowled over too.

Taking The Plunge

Nokia N80Reading Jonathan's blog and his experience of updating the firmware on his N95, I wasn't over confident with having a go and doing my N80. However, it's getting really annoying now, particularly the 5 day delivery SMS message, which Orange say ain't owt to do with them. Their recommendation is update the firmware, and then see if it still takes 5 days for me to receive text off friends. So, having got all the IT working in sync, and enough memory in my main PC, I decided to have a go. And the weather means I'm stuck indoors anyway :-(

Everything backed up onto memory card, and PC Suite. Quite scary, if only that the USB cable connection isn't the most stable design I've seen for a connector. I guess with miniturisation it's bound to get to a point where the connector will be just too small. And I think it's reached it for the N80. I notice the N95 has a different style of connection, hopefully that doesn't disconnect when the wind blows, or Spitfire jumps up to give me a hand. Owh, and before I forget, it was a staggering 73Mb file :-O

Can't see much different, other than a few more applications, a new orange coloured icon for the Web app, and a different font for reading text messages. More info on what's what can be found on the Symbian Freak website's firmware page, although I notice reading their forums that the firmware's about to reach version 5!

More Rain!

So, yet again it would seem, we've had 100 years of rain in five minutes. And I thought my calendar said it was Summer. The best thing I've found for watching it unfold, and get an idea if I'm going to get wet at lunchtime, is the Met Office Rainfall Radar. Although it did suggest the rain was going to pass us by down here. Which, I can assure you by the wet pair of jeans hanging out to dry, it didn't.

It's Bug Jam this weekend too, so I guess it's going to be a little damp there in the morning. Think I might spend the weekend setting up my shiney new 4 port KVM switch, which arrived this afternoon. Ordered yesterday off eBay from SAMLimited, delivered today. Amazing service :-D And, Ian says, "It's cheaper online" ;-)

But Ian's Already Told Me

After the news a few weeks ago that Echinacea helps cold prevention, I thought I'd found evidence that these things did help in combatting illness, something Ian's always vouched is in the mind, and a good diet is all you should be worrying about.

So today, news that a daily dose of vitamin c doesn't protect most people from common colds. However, it does go on to say that it does help if you're under periods of high stress. Well, that's me covered then, I've got a really stressful job, cough ;-) Best go buy another barrel of tablets then. Will it be cheaper online? ;-)

More N95 news

Jonathan's love/hate relationship with his Nokia N95 seems to be developing into a more hate/hate relationship, least his latest posting suggests. I'm also glad to read I'm not the only one puzzling over why the updates are so huge. I can't actually update my N80 because I need to get another 256Mb of RAM, according to the updater. I thought it was joking, but Jonathan seems to be having similar large files with the N95. Oh, and surprisingly, not, it crashes :-(

At least it explains the odd phonecalls I've been getting. The joy of having a name that always appears at the top of peoples contact lists. You've quite an acoustic pocket there, Mr Sanderson ;-)

I'm just glad that I can't upgrade 'til the end of the year, by which time I hope Orange have finally seen the errors of their ways, and removed some of the restrictive firmware they still insist on polluting the phone with :-(

Tres Bon!

Hull KRRobins win a game, at last :-D

Let's hope it can continue, and that Salford loose their next game against Bradford this coming weekend. It's going to the wire, and with most of the remaining games against hard opposition (well, apart from FC ;-)), it's going to be a tough one. Come on you Robins :-D

Ill Again

Why is it every time, recently, I've been to the Red Lion in the Old Town, had a pint of IPA, and then promptly spent Saturday feeling worse for wear? It's not like we had many, in fact the plan was to go onto Chicago's, except it's closed for redecorating.

Our Mutual Friend was great, except for the fact Sy had drunk all the Side Pocket for A Toad by the time me and Andy got down there :-( But, as always, there was plenty of others to choose from, before grabbing transport to the Old Town and a curry, mmmmm :-p Weird thing of the night? Walking into every pub and realising just how clean the air is, no smoke smell at all. And the bedroom this morning don't smell of ash :-D

Owh, bad gut ache, and not feeling at all in a fit state. In fact I'm going to leave this and go and lie down before I fall down :-(

And Now Facebook

After spending yesterday putting my MySpace page up you've all been getting in touch and making me your friend, ta :-D

What I didn't realise, is there's Facebook (Where have you been Al?). So, today, I got meself a Facebook too ;-) (You'll need an account to view it)

Reading up on the BBC, there's an interesting article on the class divide between Facbook and MySpace. All I know is I've heard more about MySpace than Facebook, reagardless of whether it's because I went to college, or not, as the study seems to suggest. Either way it's great finding lost friends and getting back in touch. Keep those invites coming :-D

The Site's Just Off Out...

and it maybe some time... ;-)

Jonathan advises the host provider will be moving at the weekend. So, like at work, there'll be no service here for a bit.

Normal service will, presumably, reappear Sunday. Still, gives me some more time to sort out this back office, and get all those draft posts posted. Oh, and no comments still, sorry :-(

Day Off Tomorrow!

And the weather looks like it might not rain, which for those readers from distant shores, it's been raining for quite a while. In fact, is it not St. Swithuns Day soon? We all know what that means for the summer :-(

Got a whole lot of gardening to do, the place is a jungle after 3-4 weeks of doing nothing. A few trips down the tip with my recycling, and a sort out of the monthly paperwork and regular, "Now where's all that money gone?" quiz.

My other project for the day, and most of this evening, has been my MySpace page. I've sent out my friend requests, so get on and make me your friend! Yes. I know, all those pics are on here, and on my own site, but I needed something to make it a little more homely. Next step is to have a bash at hacking up the CSS and make it look more like this place ;-) Oh, and if I've not yet found you, drop in and make friends :-D The comments work over there too ;-)

New Spitfire

Airfix Mk1 SpitfireNoticed, catching up on the various forums, the new Sptifire's out on the shelfs and eBay :-D It was to have been part of an anniversary set, to celebrate 70 years of Spitfires, but with the problems last year it was shelved. Thankfully, Hornby have managed to get things up and running, and with production now in the UK, it's been released.

Some threads on BritModeller.com:
Airfix 1-48th scale Spitfire MkI - work in progress
Airfix Mk.1 Spitfire -A view.
1-48th scale Spitfire MkI - work in progress

There's also some news on the Canberra in Scale Aircraft Modeller International (SAMi). One of the members on The Unofficial Airfix Modellers forum has posted some scans. It also looks quite promising too.

Boo Hooo!

Hull KRAfter the so-called derby down in Cardiff, I'd all expectation that we'd do just as good a job of beating Hull FC on the proper home return. And, by the end of the first half, we were! However, the recent form's not been good, so I guess it's no surprise we lost 20-30, although not as much of a whitewash as other's had been reckoning, with the performance over the last few weeks seeing a 32-18 drubbing at Harlequins last weekend. If they're not careful, it'll all be over as soon as it started, with a drop back into the lower league :-(

A Free Pint?

In the local Wetherspoons for a pint after work tonight, reading their latest magazine, and there's an offer to join CAMRA for 20 and receive 20 worth of Wetherspoon beer vouchers :-D So, you get free CAMRA membership and 20 of beer, or CAMRA membership, and a few free pints. Brilliant :-D

Looking online, it's also on their website too. Better get in quick before the end of July, when the offer ends :-D

Airfix Coasters?

From the forum, a new line for Airfix, drinks coasters!

Reading through all the news I've bookmarked over the last week, and the story about Echinacea, and cold prevention. Ever since Jules fell ill, I've had a raft of potions, some that work for me, and some that don't. Echinacea is one, and I've religiously taken it whenever I start to feel like I'm going under. Also, on the run up to holidays, although last Christmas it didn't work. Of course, Ian's always sworn that it's all a load of old cobble, and what you really need is a good diet, and less stress. But the proof's here that at least one of the pills works ;-)

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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