archive for the Me category

Why I Run

Me Thursday 13th June 2024

I run for myself. I run for my family. I run for my colleagues. I run to allow my brain to filter the day’s noise. But mostly, I run for myself.

I have a rough running schedule taped to the fridge, so my wife knows when I’m aiming to go out. By 8pm the children are all in bed, we’ve figured out what we’ll have for dinner later. All I have to do is go out for a run. Easy, right? But binging Netflix would also be easy…sitting on the sofa would also be easy…scrolling social media would be easy…So why do I run? How do I beat the mind goblin who whispers to me?

The spectre of the mind goblin sits at the fringes of my mind. I know that if I don’t do something to get those endorphins and dopamine flowing, it will start to creep in. I was never a sporty child. I did mini-rugby until I was 13, but that was my only active pursuit. I preferred books, movies and (yes, cliché time) the lure of the computer. But later in life I’d often get stuck in a rut, either personally or professionally. I’d deeply focus on a problem, until it became all encompassing. I had to have an outlet for my brain to switch off, and I found running. The benefits of exercise for wellbeing are well documented and I’ve found it needs to be part of my life to stay mentally healthy. So that’s what gets me to lace up my shoes, and get out of the door. Part of my brain craves that post-run feeling and it wants some of those magic vibes.

The first 1k are always terrible, as my joints ache, my lungs complain and part of my brain screams “this again!?”. But then it starts to subside, I start to watch the scenery, or pay attention to the podcast plugged into my ears. I start to tune out the noise of my laboured breathing, and the pounding of my feet. I start to spot the wildlife along the canal, or see a gorgeous sunset over Edinburgh’s hills. I’m into the rhythm now and I nod at fellow runners, dodge cyclists, and keep an eye out for the e-bike youths. I stop and walk a bit, but not for too long, I don’t want to stray too far from the running pace. I glance at the time, and think of the sofa back at home. I’m just about at the halfway point – almost the best point of the run when I know I’m on the return leg.
The return leg is always faster, and my senses strain to hear the beep of my watch as it hits the magical 5, 8, 10k – whatever I’m supposed to be running today. The beep of the watch finally arrives and I slow to a walk, stopping my watch.

I did it. I went out.

The endorphins flow, the “runner’s high” kicks in and I’m king of my world.

I made myself go out and run. Using only my brain to move my legs faster. If I can do that, I can do anything. It’s all a state of mind.


On Running

Me Tuesday 31st October 2023

I’ve become a runner.

One of those people.

It all started back in 2016 with an invite to lunchtime “run club” at work. It got me away from my desk, around the city, and talking to colleagues I often didn’t interact with on a normal day. I found it was good fun.

My colleagues Emily and Ricky pushed me on the runs, and I found that running socially kept me going further and faster than solo runs.

Over time realised I was running 5k and then sometimes up to 7k squeezed into a lunch break. Often this was a bit of a rush to get back in time, showered, hoover up lunch and get back to a desk in time for your 14:00 meeting.

In autumn of 2016 a group of us did The Mighty Deerstalker race down in Innerleithen. It was a bit of a trial by fire, a head-torch race on some very technical terrain including wading through small rivers. But something clicked – this was bloody brilliant! The post-race pint was like nectar from the gods and the endorphin buzz and race camaraderie sealed the deal.

Fast forward to covid lockdown and running became an escape from working from home, and even more important when we were only allowed outside for our government sanctioned exercise. Looking back, what scary times they were.

Since then I did the Deerstalker again, then entered into some 5ks, 10ks, an 18k downhill dafty, one out to Cramond Island and back, and culminating 3 weeks ago in the Aviemore Half Marathon. Of course, being a technology fan, I’m tracking the heck out of all of these runs using Strava. Here is the strava embed for the Aviemore half:

It was wet. Very wet. But I beat my target of sub 2hrs 20! Great scenery around the rain and for the most part an interesting course. There was one rather dull “out and back” section around 15k which was a bit of a slog as I could see the snaking path of runners into the distance. The last 3k was tough with a fair bit of walking until I realised I was practically finished and I found some last energy. Smashed a pie and and an alcohol free beer at the end 😀 .

I’m not sure if I want to run further than 21k. The training commitment was…a lot. At least three runs a week, every week for around 3 months. Ideally with a “long run” on the Sunday – which built up to around 19k in the weeks before the run. With three children it was often tricky to fit these into weekends.

I think I prefer the interesting traily runs like Scurry to Cramond Island, Hidden Glen 5/10k, the Hop Run etc. I’m keen to hear from anyone else who’s done an interesting run that isn’t a boring road 10k. If you know of another interesting run a sensible distance from Edinburgh, please let me know.

Otherwise look out for more running related blog posts and, of course, give me a follow on Strava.


Lockdown Communique

General,Me Monday 25th May 2020

First blog post in six years, that must be a new record right?

Putting aside the current global pandemic a lot has happened to me personally in the last six years:

  • Sold our flat and bought a sensible house, with a garden and everything
  • Had not one, but two children – both boys, now 4½ and 1
  • Became a bona-fide Director at Whitespace
  • Sold the company to Dentsu Aegis Network – fulfilling my cyberpunk dreams of working for a mysterious Japanese multi-national corporation
  • Un-became a Director at Whitespace (but I’m still on the board)

Moving back to the present – everyone at Whitespace has been working at home now for six weeks. UK-wide, we’re on “lockdown” with schools, nurseries, libraries, cafe, bars all closed. Exercise limited to once a day, and the government advice to just generally stay at home. It’s a strange and bizarre time.


2011 In Review

General,Me Sunday 22nd January 2012


Visited Marrakech and proposed to my darling Ria. Thankfully, she said yes!

Looked at a lot of flats in an attempt to finally get on the property ladder.


Had a wee break on the West coast around Troon. Good ice cream.

Went on a mountain biking related stag, somehow survived despite my lack of fitness.


Found a beautiful flat and jumped through the many mortgage and solicitor hoops. RBS now own our soul.

Got hospitality tickets to T in the Park though work. Had an ace time with the boys. Shame we went on the Sunday, Monday was pretty painful.

Moved out of Gilmore Place and into our new place. Didn’t want to lose our deposit so we did an epic amount of cleaning.


Summer emerged in Scotland. My parents, sister and brother in-law all stayed at our new place. We took them out on the town during the festival. Great times.


Mike’s stag do. Fired shotguns (badly) and jumped off cliffs into a very cold river – surprisingly good fun!


Our holiday for the year: Venice, Florence, Sienna and Rome. That warrants a post of it’s own…


Grew a ‘tache for Movember. Lots of people laughed at my face.

Beth's Wedding
My little sister got married!


Christmas in Bathgate, post-xmas in Billingham. New Year in Bathgate.

Roll on 2012…


Frickin’ David Bailey?

Me,Photography Monday 19th September 2011

I’ve been getting vary lax with my photo uploading lately. I’m aiming to catch-up over the upcoming weeks. Here’s the start of the updates.

First up here are some from a long weekend we had in Troon. We had a very wet and windy visit to the nearby wee island of Cumbrae:

In the summer we visited my parents in Teesside and popped down the coast to Runswick Bay:

When my parents visited a few months back we travelled on the train to the Summerlee Heritage Park:


London Weekend Photos

Me Sunday 21st March 2010

View on Flickr.

A couple of weeks ago we had a long weekend in London with friends. Went to Borough Market, The Design Museum, had afternoon tea at The Athenaeum and dinner at Arbutus Restaurant. Also caught up with some old friends from university which made for a fun evening.


2009 : A Review

General,Me Tuesday 12th January 2010

January: My Dad turned 60 and retired, great weekend in a National Trust property.

February: Ria and I had a few days in Krakow including Valentines Day at Auschwitz.

March: Had a weekend near Helensburgh at Strone Cottage – outdoor hot tubs are one of mankind’s great inventions.

April: Saw Honda’s Asymo, destroyed my website, went to a huge 50s themed charity party.

May: Spent a long weekend in Arran, travelling there on the train and then the ferry. Did some nice but very, very wet walking. First round of redundancies at work.

June: Lovely wedding, lots of warm evenings drinking outdoors, saw numerous films at the film festival. “Our” birthday picnic.

July: Went to Whitby and visited my parents at home including a day trip to York. Began the great flat hunt.

August: fringe, fringe, fringe and found a nice flat! 2nd round of redundanices at work.

September: Moved in with Ria, had a weekend in London, rounded off the festival, re-designed my website.

October: Had two weeks in New York, Boston, Chicago and New York again. Amazing trip – wanted to return immediately. Numerous halloween parties.

November: Finally had our flat warming party, my cousin in Kansas got engaged.

December: The Jackson & Phillips families went for a weekend in St Andrews together.


Nom Nom Nom

Me Monday 25th February 2008


Godfather + Audi R8

Me Wednesday 6th February 2008


Happy 2008

Me Tuesday 8th January 2008

Happy New Year!

So yeah, this is one of of those “catch up” posts for the new year that everybody seems to be doing. It seems my last post all about me was over two months ago when I moved into my new flat. Slackness.

What has happened since then you ask?

  • I went to Prague – lovely city. Weather wasn’t great and we attempted to visit the Jewish Cemetery on the Sabbath (skills). Lost Ian a couple of times, drank Bekerovka and developed a taste for Mojitos.
  • My sister visited for a weekend – we climbed Arthur’s Seat, went to the Samhuinn Halloween thing and general did touristy stuff
  • Met a Girl
  • Spent Christmas at home with the family. Got lots of shiny things including socks, chocolate and booze.
  • Listened to a lot of Girls Aloud
  • Spent Hogmanay in the Opal Lounge with friends – terrible food, but they compensated us with an extravagant amount of free Moet, wine and cocktails
  • Played far too much Scrabulous on the all-encompassing world destroyer that is Facebook
  • Went to Edinburgh Zoo for the first time – Honey Badgers rock! (so do penguins)
  • Played Crysis (omg shiny), BioShock, Halo 3 on the 360 and just bought the RockStar back catalogue on Steam
  • Assisted in the making of Tapas and had a great evening eating said Tapas accompanied by Mojitos


Me,Technology Saturday 20th October 2007

So I all moved into my new place. The move was pretty painless, mainly thanks to the help of my Mum and Dad who came up for the weekend. My Dad drove a van we had hired and we got everything shifted fin two trips. Got my ADSL from Be activated within about four days and after some firmware updating shenanigans with the modem I’m all up and rocking. I did manage to trash my desktop PC in the moving process though, so I’m taking it as an excuse to upgrade to an uber-rig. I’m getting a dual core Pentium and 2 gigs of RAM (which is crazy cheap at the moment). Check out some quick snaps I took of my new place on flickr.



Me Sunday 30th September 2007

I have a new flat! Kerry and I have amicably decided to split up and so for the last month or so I’ve been looking for a new place. I finally found a nice play on Causewayside in the Newington area of Edinburgh. It’s a good bright flat in a decent area of town and has been refurbished recently with new fittings. I’ll be properly moving all my stuff in two weeks but in the mean time I’ve got to buy all that fun stuff like: duvet, cushions, decent curtains etc. I’ve never lived on my own before, it’ll be nice to do whatever I want, whenever I want!


I’m Off to Connect

Me,Music Friday 31st August 2007


Yay, woo.


Afternoon Cycle

Me Saturday 25th August 2007

I went for a nice ride along the canal this afternoon. Behold my route using the fancy new Google Maps embedding:

View Larger Map


Grocery Store Wars

Me Tuesday 26th June 2007


Twenty Six

Me Saturday 23rd June 2007

It was my birthday yesterday, as the title suggests I’m now the ripe old age of 26. To celebrate we went out for an (always awesome) curry at Kushi’s with Ian and Neil. Good food and good company.


Laptops n Linux

Me,Technology Thursday 19th April 2007

I have a laptop! A venerable IBM T23 with 512MB RAM clocked at a mighty 1133Mhz. I got it off ebay, something which lots of people have since said is usually a really, really bad idea. Apart from a crack on the back it does the job and is built like a tank. It came with an apparently legal install of Windows XP but I’ve installed ubuntu linux alongside it. So far I haven’t needed to boot into Windows for anything, all my hardware is supported in ubuntu. The install process was also incredibly smooth. You boot from a live CD and then the installer runs from inside the live CD version of linux. You can then muck around with the gnome default games (blackjack etc) whilst the installer is completing! I did have some strange issue with lilo not installing the first time, but I ran it again and it worked fine.

The PCMCIA wi-fi card that came with my laptop was pretty crappy and didn’t seem to be supported in linux. I shelled out a whole £10 for a new one that I knew was supported and it has been working fine. I also had to replace the battery as the charge only held for 20 mins, the seller freely admitted the battery wasn’t tested (ebay speak for broken) so it was to be expected. Ubuntu is the most user friendly linux distribution I’ve every installed. They obviously have actual people thinking about usability and being friendly to less experienced users. I’ve since ubuntu-orised my server box at home as well. It makes sense to just run one distribution.


Feed my Reader

Me,Technology Friday 19th January 2007

I’ve ditched my oh-so-2006 binary feed reader and switched to Google Reader. It’s pretty slick to use and has clever stats and features that just aren’t present in desktop application readers. I can also catch up on all my feeds in my lunch break at work or just generally when I’m not at my home PC.


Finishing Things

Me,Technology Friday 19th January 2007

I was talking with my Mum last night and realised that we share one (among many) particular trait: not finishing things. In my free time I’m great at starting projects but not so good at actually finishing them. So, with that in mind I’m listing all of my half finished projects here in a hope of shaming myself into maybe finishing them off some day.

Lothian buses routes on Google Maps


Take the route (list of street names) from the Lothian Buses timetable and dump them into the Google Maps route finder. Inelegantly scape the results to extract the GPolygon munge. Then stick all the paths together to get the final route.

Shown left is the (rough) route of the number 22. The bus I used to have to take to work when I lived out in the “boonies”.

WordPress Amazon plugin


I’ve started a WordPress plugin to allow easy access to the Amazon e-commerce API. Mainly to facilitate extracting product information. So you can say stuff like “I’m currently reading –AMAZONASIN–” and my plugin will fetch all the necessary information like title, author, image etc. The API isn’t super-fast so I’m currently at the stage of working out a schema to cache all the necessary information. The different types of products all have a different subset of attribute fields, so I’m trying to work out a flexible solution. I’ve also worked on some image processing trickery to allow for the oh so trendy apple-style “book at angle with reflection” image (as seen left). It’s a bit jaggy at the minute, I need to find out how to do blurring with GD in PHP. I’ve even got a Google Code page for this project which handily has SVN access.

I know there are a few plugins out there that do this already but they either aren’t flexible enough or just look too amateurish for my liking.

Edinburgh Urban Art

I started doing an interface to the Flickr group I set up. The basics are there but it could do with some more pizazz.

Book Blog

Over at /books/ I like to keep track of what I’ve been reading. I’ve managed to keep this up for almost two years but should really get around to doing something more exciting with the design. Actual book data is what inspired my WordPress plugin above. So, when that is finished the page should be awash with tags, photos, reviews etc.


Eye of the tiger

Me Sunday 14th January 2007

In my mission to get fitter I went for a run this morning. I had my (gleaming bright white) trainers on, trackies and a fleece. Plus my rookie style woolly hat. It started totally chucking it down when I was half way across the meadows and so I was battling along through the elements. Man, did that shower feel good when I got back in out of the wind and rain.


New Phone

Me,Technology Saturday 2nd December 2006

This week I received a useful cold call. It started with the usual mobile phone stuff and I was about to hang-up when the dude mentioned that my contract was about to run out, whoah, could actually be a legit call. It was, my contract had run out (I had no idea) and was apparently in “rolling” mode. So they tempted me to stay on with a free upgrade and an attempt at selling me a vastly over-priced plan and some phone insurance. I took the free K800, thank you very much. It’s a very shiny phone with an awesome screen, plus it was in Casino Royale. Check out the evolution with my last three phones:


Left to right: T610, K750 & K800.

Screens are getting bigger (and higher resolution) and keypads are getting more cluttered. The ‘start’ and ‘end’ call buttons on the K800 are pretty tiny, squeezed in at the side like that. The K800 seems a bit more ‘bling’ than the others and more nokia-ish. Other nice improvements are more tactile keys, a better camera, a real flash, autofocus, image stabilisation, an RSS reader and a blogging tool! The latter seems to only support blogger, which is a shame. We’ll see how this new phone lasts.



Gaming,Me Friday 8th September 2006

The ioquake3 project aims to build on id software’s release of the Quake 3 source code. Tremulous uses ioquake as it’s engine and the project will hopefully allow for many more games that are stand-alone and use a decent engine.


Barter Books

Books,General,Me Monday 31st July 2006

My parents were in Alnwick for the weekend seeing Jools Holland at Alnwick Castle. I got the train down to see them yesterday, Alnmouth station is only an hour on the train from Edinburgh. You can’t go to Alnwick without going to the awesome Barter Books, one of the largest second hand bookshops in Britain. The place is huge! It’s based in Alnwick’s very grand Victorian railway station and has gazillions of second hand books on a myriad of subjects. All pretty reasonably priced, unlike some places in Edinburgh where you can often get the same book new on amazon for a quid more. They’ve also got cases of old first editions and antique stuff, all very nicely presented. Plus a large reading room with newspapers, seats everywhere and very cheap coffee and cakes that you pay for on an honesty basis. It’s a book geeks dream. We could easily have spent the whole day there but we managed to drag ourselves away after an hour and a bit. We had lunch in the courtyard at The Art House which did nice food but the service was a little slow. After lunch we wandered into the town square where the Alnwick International Music Festival was happening and wandered among the trinket stalls listening to Mexican dancing and Lithuanian harp playing. A good day out with some cracking weather.

The book haul:

  • The Bourne Identity
  • Cross of Iron
  • Straw Men
  • Idlewild
  • The Godfather

Anatomy Acts

Edinburgh,Me Friday 19th May 2006

Kerry and I had a Random Day Off on Wednesday this week. It was ace, we totally slept in and then went out into the gorgeous weather for lunch at Howies on Victoria street. I had brocolli and pea soup and then chilli chicken escalope on foccacia, or something. Whatever it was, it was damn tasty. Kerry had corn cakes to start and then some kind of squid thing, which I refused to try in my stuberness.

After lunch we went to see the Anatomy Acts exhibition at the City Art Centre. It was pretty cool, rather gruesome, but very interesting. Lots of models and paintings of the insides and outsides of bodies, medical instruments and very old, very elaborate anatomical texts. They even had some doctor chaps wooden operating trolley from eighteen-oh-something that must have seen a fair bit of blood spilt on it, as the wood was a good browny-red shade on top. It goes over three floors of the gallery and was a lot larger than I was expecting, especially for a free exhibition. They even have some modern medical imagery stuff from MIR and CAT scanners on a big screen which reminded me of the Visualisation course I did at uni.

A great day off, and it made the week seem really short!

Catch Up

Me Monday 10th April 2006

Wow, I’m getting worse and worse at this blogging thing. I was doing really well for a while and now its like “one crappy link post a week”. Sorry about that.

In my defence I have been attempting to post more to Google Sightseeing but still can’t keep up with Alex & Jame’s posting rate. On the upside I think I’ve learnt more general knowledge when composing posts for GGSS than doing anything else for a while now.

In other news Kerry and I took a big step last weekend by purchasing a Dyson DC08 vacuum between us and merging our CD collections. I also got a very shiny new alarm clock form Habitat which is something I’ve been wanting for a while. I’m not going to link to their website as it’s flash and obscenely slow to use, load, and non comprehensive.

Whilst getting software for work we realised that you can go out and buy a really old version of photoshop and then get the much cheaper upgrade option to a super new version like CS2. Saving you about £300 in the process. I managed to get an apparently “brand new sealed” version of photoshop 5.5 for a tenner off ebay. We’ll see how legit it is once it arrives. Of course, I now have to shell out £100+ to get the upgrade to CS2. I think I’ll wait for a good month before I get that.



Me Wednesday 8th March 2006

We won the pub quiz again last night by a hairs-breadth. We were tied right at the end with one other team, then we tied again on the “jackpot round” so we went to a tie-breaker:

“In what year was Alexander Graham Bell awarded the patent for his telephone?”

…and Kerry got it right on the nose: 1876.



Me Monday 13th February 2006

Yikes, almost a month since the last update. I’m slipping into Turnbull Bros. territory. So, what have I been up to?

Work is crazy busy with two more sales staff employed and us therefore having to provide infrastructure and hardware to support them. Our latest major project was the awesome Package Builder, which was mainly Sandy.

Kerry and I went home for a weekend at the start of February for “xmas”. It was nice to have a 2nd round of pressies, see everyone, get fed and muck about down at the beach. Didn’t see much of my sister as she was having car troubles. There are some pictures up on flickr. I got a kick-ass watch off my parents and a bottle of Quarter Cask Laphroaig which is great stuff.

On the web front I have done some work on my re-design but progress is slow. I’ve moved to a left aligned layout but still fixed width. I’m still aiming to get the whole thing done before the big reveal, lets just say I’ve used more colours than just grey and erm, grey this time. I finally got around to upgrading to WordPress 2.01 which was surprisingly painless but gawd do I need ssh on my hosting, it’s so wasteful over ftp.

Oh, I finally fixed up the bike I pulled out a skip about two years ago. I replaced the inner tubes, cleaned it up and scraped tons of muck out of the chain rings and derailers (Sandy would be proud). I won’t be entering any extreme downhill competitions with this thing, but it does the job of getting around town.

The Super Shonky™ IBM hard drive that was struggling along in my desktop PC finally starting cracking-up last Friday. I was geting nasty blue-screens with MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION which I tracked down to the secondary IDE channel. If I took the IBM drive off, they went away. Thing is, it has all my MP3s on it, so I’ll need to wrangle them off at some point. I got so annoyed at Windows during this I put my old GeForce 4 card in my linux box, installed a ton of modules and other stuff and configured my X setup properly. With some help from Synergy I now have both my Windows and Linux boxes controllable from one keyboard and mouse, my screen thankfully has two inputs.

I also saw a ton of movies but I’d better put them in a seperate post before you drop off…


Best Of 2005

Me Saturday 14th January 2006


Getting a new flat with just kerry and myself

Two stag parties! both awesome, Rick’s and James’

Seeing de la soul with Alex and James


Finally ditching my CRT for a flatscreen

Movies & TV

The Serenity premiere
Batman Begins
Sin City
Rome (roll on season two)
The mighty Battle Star Galactica
Lost, if it would stop dragging everything out so much


Google Maps & the rise of Google Sightseeing

…and lots of other things that I can’t remember about. 2006 already….blimey.



Me,Technology Friday 6th January 2006

So, about 6 months after I realised I needed to upgrade my PC I’ve finally done it!

I now have a shiny AMD Sempron 3100+ on a Gigabyte K8NS-PRO with a Gig of Crucial RAM. This also means I now have the mighty increased speed of USB 2.0, SATA drives, Firewire and lots of other things that my old motherboard didn’t support. Needless to say, pretty much everything runs a heck of a lot quicker.

This whole hardware thing had moved on a bit since I last put a PC together (man, that makes me sound old). The motherboard has a nice plastic guide thing for the heatsink and it all clips in very neatly and easily. No jamming a screwdriver into fiddly bits of metal and forcing clips onto tiny bits of plastic. This motherboard has something daft like 3 RAID controllers, onboard sound, LAN, kitchen sink etc which makes the BIOS setup screen an absolute mess of options – the only downside to all this increased complexity. So far though, everything has run very smoothly and my CPU temperature when under load has dropped to around 30°C (from 60°C plus).


Happy New Year

Me Monday 2nd January 2006

It’s the 2nd and I’m only just posting this….slackness ahoy.

New Years Eve was really good fun. Kerry finished worked at 8 so after that we got ready and headed down to Alex’s flat with two carrier bags full of booze. The place was already pretty jumping when we got there so we set about playing with the mighty Cocktail Machine which now used RFID tags for user logins! Pretty clever stuff. Lots and lots of people were there, about 8 people seem to live in this house and so there were a lot of friends and cliques to invite. At 12 we got a good view of the fireworks off the crags and Graeme had some cute little garden fireworks which we set off. After that it was just more fooling around, eating sausages off the barbeque, covering silly things in chocolate with the chocolate fountain and talking with, ex-flatmate of 4 years, Pete (who I hadn’t seen in about 2 years). We eventually left about 4:30 am and after walking Pete home crashed into bed. Bloody good night 🙂

More pictures up on Flickr.


New Camera

Me,Technology Thursday 29th December 2005

With my hard earned xmas bonus I’ve splashed out on a new digital camera, a Pentax Optio 60.

pentax optio 60

It’s a 6 mega-pixel thing with oodles more features than my old skool Fuji 2800. I will miss the mighty 6x optical zoom but I absolutely will not miss the size of the flippin’ thing. It was huge. Get ready for an influx of pictures when my new one arrives.


Xmas Gifts

Me Wednesday 28th December 2005

I got some awesome gifts this year, including:

  • Roy Lichtenstein Whaam! prints (both of them)
  • Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
  • Banksy’s “Crude Oils” postcards (getting framed)
  • Shiny new parker pen
  • Sin City DVD
  • Batman Begins DVD
  • Block of kitchen knives
  • Smoother Maker

Merry Christmas

Me Saturday 24th December 2005
the tree
the presents under the tree
star wars chocolate decorations! yeah baby
masses of reduced turkeys in sainsburys

So the tree is dressed, the presents wrapped and the beer is chilling. Kerry and I decided to take the diplomatic route this year and have christmas all to our selves. Neither parents would have to receive us on the big day. This is actually my first christmas away from home, which will be strange, in a good way. Kerry and I have oodles of food planned (just for us!) tomorrow, I’m on beef roasting duty and trifles making. Mmmm, trifle.

Sorry about the ass-ness of the photos, they’re from my phone. I’m going to pick up a new digi-cam in the January sales.


Trend Alert

Me,Technology Monday 19th December 2005
omg so small
it really is sooooo small

Uh-oh, I think I might own an ipod. Not sure how that one happened… It might have something to do with mentioning to my parents that I would like one for Christmas. It is unbelieveably shiny and so small!

I opted for a (ninja) black 4 Gb Nano, mainly for the ease of carrying and for a decent amount of space. I don’t really want to carry around my whole music collection, but then I don’t want to have to rotate albums every day or something (like with a shuffle). As a Windows user I’m allergic to iTunes so I ditched that at the earliest convenience and I’m using mlipod for winamp which is aces-cool.

The screen is great and the scroll wheel is easy to use once you get the hang of it. The UI is the usual Apple slickness and makes navigating around really easy. I haven’t tried any video on it, but the photo album is vaguely useful and has pretty slideshows. It’s usability is limited on a screen so small though. The whole Nano is incredibly easy to scratch, I have a few minor ones after only a week so I’ve ordered a case for it which should help a bit.

More on my adventures in Apple-land in time.


Blingin’ Hardware

Me,Technology Saturday 26th November 2005

So I bought Ian’s old PC case of him as a replacement for my monstrous tower. “old” in Ian terms is, like, more than 6 months so it’s still pretty spiffy. It’s made from super light aluminium and has a very shiny black automative paint finish. Rather hilariously, as I was trying to take a picture of it to post here my camera fell off my desk with the lense extended…ouch. It’s now at a rather wonky angle and won’t zoom in and out, officialy “shonky”. Oh well, it is more than three years old and probably only worth about £50 (its got quite a bit of previous battle damage). Looks like I’ll be picking up a new one in the January sales.

Update: Just remembered. When I had got everything moved into the new case I fired it up and got a continuous high-pitched beep. Strange….because this case doesn’t even have a speaker! I finally realised that I hadn’t plugged the molex power connector into my uber geforce 6800 graphics card. That did the trick, the card itself must have a speaker to warn you of low power or something.


Quick Fire

Me Thursday 24th November 2005

Rome: just watched last episode of season one. Wow. Can’t wait for the next season.

Days Off Work: Aces, I’m off today and tomorrow.

XUL, XML, BBQ, XPI: Firefox plugins and XUL is cool. I’m thinking about making some kind of firefox plugin and learning XUL.

Blog Tweaks: All you feed-readers might not have noticed some tweaks I’ve made lately. Come and have a look at the site!


Shiny Jacket!

Me Sunday 6th November 2005

I went kinda nuts yesterday and bought myself a new, extremely shiny, jacket in Cult. Behold:

carhartt fellow jacket


Me,Movies & TV Sunday 30th October 2005

Kerry and I were invited to a combined Halloween and Flat Warming last night at Anna & Jen’s new place. Kerry was unforuntely working and so I went alone, without a costume. I did bring snacks, liquer and wine so they still let me in. Lots of people had cancelled and Anna wasn’t very well so the back-up plan of heading to the Auld Hoose swung into action. We somehow got stuck watching Bound (the Wachowski bros. film before The Matrix) and ended up at the Hoose just after midnight. It was packed out with lots of kerazy dressed-up folk, so I had a quick drink and then escaped to annoy Kerry at work.


Blueyonder, I Love You

Me,Technology Sunday 30th October 2005

I’ve just realised that I haven’t blogged about the free blueyonder speed increases. I was originally on a pretty standard 1Mb cable line, but now have a mighty 4Mb! This is mainly the cable companies playing catch-up with ADSL and completely out-doing them so they don’t get left too far behind. This new connection means I can download at 500kb/s (that’s kilo-bytes!) and upload at 48kb/s. Awesome 🙂


Local Area Network

Me,Technology Sunday 30th October 2005

So now that I have my shiny new wireless access point I’ve managed to get my media player thing working over wirelss. Which is just beyond cool and keeps Kerry happy, as there aren’t huge lengths of CAT-5 trailed eveywhere. Its a nice little box and fits in with the rest of the D-Link range. I’ve had no problems so far with reception but then it’s only going about five metres. The firmware is pretty neat and has stuff like syslogd support so that the access point log gets piped across to my linux box’s logs aswell. Now I just need a laptop or something to waft around the flat, marvelling at the magical wireless technology.


Clocks go Back

Me Sunday 30th October 2005

Woo-hoo, an extra hour in bed!


The Heated Mouse

Me,Technology,Work Monday 24th October 2005

We’re often joking at work about how cold it is. Maybe this is the answer: The Heated Mouse.


New Toy

Me,Technology Monday 24th October 2005

Now that we’ve got a TV and everything in an actual living room the problem arose of how to watch all of our downloaded media on it. Kerry would have probably killed me if I’d set-up a noisy media PC in there, plus it would be a bit too expensive. A chipped xbox was another option, or some kind of dedicated divx player. I was browsing ebuyer and came across the Lite-On LVD-2010 which is a DVD player than can also play mpg4, divx etc and can stream stuff via ethernet. Seems pretty sweet! I faffed around too long though and ebuyer sold out, I eventually got one from, who have now sold out aswell.

It’s a neat bit of kit. It looks just like a normal DVD player but can play content from a ‘Media Server’ on the local network. This clever ‘Media Server’ is actually just a web server that offers a file browsing interface and streams the files to the box. The server software that comes in the box is pants, and uses Java (eww). SwissCenter is a much nicer, open source project that just uses a mini version of apache and PHP. The only problems so far have been that it can’t play q-pixel encoded divx files (whatever the heck they are) and it doesn’t support movie subtitles in external files.

In the retail box you also get a wireless bridge adaptor so that you don’t need to run CAT-5 to the box. I haven’t yet got this working, mainly because I don’t have a wireless access point for it to work with. This presented an excellent opporunity to get one though, and I shelled out for a D-Link DWL-2000AP+ which should arrive tomorrow. More toys! 🙂


Pet Hate No. 1

Me Tuesday 4th October 2005

Websites that don’t work without the www at the beginning of the domain name. A typical culrpit is Argos (omg doesn’t work).


Sweet, sweet internet

Me Tuesday 4th October 2005

Wahey, I’m back on the ‘net. Last Saturday we got cable installed in our new flat complete with 1MB internet (soon to be four!) 😀


Wedding Aftermath

Me Thursday 22nd September 2005

Wedding was aces, reception was great. Spent most of Sunday recovering from my excesses. Photos to follow at some point. James & Catriona are now in the sun, damn them! 🙂


Wedding Bells

Me Friday 16th September 2005

I can hear those bells already. It’s James & Catriona’s big day tomorrow, my nails are done and my pink shirt is ironed (how metrosexual darling!). I stupidly put my suit in to dry-clean at the last minute and so have got to pick it up first thing in the morning. Of course, my worries pale in comparison to James’. Best of luck mate 🙂


Taking Out The Trash

Me,University Saturday 10th September 2005
Taking Out The Trash

We’ll be moving into out new place in two weeks so the long process of sorting, binning and packing had begun. Today I pulled all the dusty, forgotten boxes out from under the bed. There were three boxes all full of ring-binders which contained my notes from university.

I’m not sure why I’d kept them for so long. After a moments thought I set about ripping all the paper out of them and binning it all. A very liberating experience I tell you. I did keep one binder of Maths 2Y note though, as they “might be useful”.


Weekend Of Stag

Me Tuesday 30th August 2005

Wow, what a weekend. That was a whole heap o’ fun. If you haven’t been keeping track, last weekend was James’ stag trip to Prague in the Czech Republic. We flew out on Friday morning and arrived at about 3 in the afternoon to be greeted by gorgeous weather and an amazing city. Thanks to Adam’s navigations skillz we got a bus and a tram to the hotel but got off slightly too early and treked about 2 ks up a road in the blazing sun. The hotel was nice, basic but clean and friendly.

read on…



Me Monday 29th August 2005

So….tired. Will blog stuff about the weekend “soon”.