archive for the Me category

Second Anniversary

Edinburgh,Me,Photography Thursday 11th August 2005
Henri Cartier-Bresson photo, Paris

I had the afternoon off yesterday as it was Kerry and Is second anniversary. We went to see the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the Dean Gallery. Bresson was a photographer who craved anonymity and would never stage photographs; instead he wanted what he famously called the “decisive moment”, when the click of the camera captures a moment of unexpected drama. He was brilliant at catching this decisive moment, illustrated perfectly in the photo to the left. He manages to get the shot when the guy has both feet off the ground above the puddle. The exhibition was good, it wasn’t just photos taken by Bresson. It had photos of him and other biographical photos and items to view. It was a little pricey at £5 but hey, it was a treat. Magnum have all the photos Bresson took whilst working for them online to browse (and buy). After the exhibition we dodged a torrential summer downpour and got expensive ready meals and fizzy blackberry wine from M&S for dinner. A great way to spend an afternoon off.

Update: Looks like Joe beat me to the Cartier exhibition 🙂


Bo’ness Railway & Birkhill Clay Mine

General,Me,Photography Wednesday 27th July 2005

Last Sunday we had a “tourist day” with my parents, away from the shops. We went along to the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, unsurprisingly, in Bo’ness. My Dad is a bit of a train fan and I think I’ve still got some of it in my blood :). Of course, I wanted to a be a train driver when I was small. Not sure when that phase ended…

Anyway, we rode the train along the line to to Birkhill where the clay mine is. The mine was as good, possibly better than the train journey. There are miles of big tunnels to explore and we were given a tour around just a small section. Our family and especially my Dad as a Director of the NPHT have become quite the mine-tour connoisseurs and we all thought this one was a beauty. The guy who led us around knew his stuff and it was well laid-out and timed well. Just long enough to feel like you’re not getting ripped-off and not too long so you get bored. There’s a gallery up in the pictures section of the days sights. Taking photos underground is always tricky but I tried with a couple.


Parental Weekend

Edinburgh,General,Me Tuesday 26th July 2005

On Friday night Kerry and I met my parents, who were up for the weekend, at Fishers down on The Shore at Leith. Now, I’m not normally a sea food fan but hey, you gotta try something different now and again. I had a wee haggis thing to start and then spicy grilled monkfish with pitta bread salad. The starter was tasty but very small, the monkfish was gorgeous. I’ve never had it before but I’d certainly have it again. To finish off I had a lemon and ricotta cheesecake which was obviously home made and great after the spicy monkfish.

Saturday was shopping day and we hit the sales early. I got a couple of shirts in Next, some jeans in H&M and Kerry bought me a denim jacket in Gap. We were pretty knackered by lunch time so we went for lunch in No 28 Charlotte Square, a National Trust property that has a bistro and restaurant. Out the back, in between Charlotte Square and Princes Street it also has a secluded courtyard with tables. This was great to get a break from the hustle and bustle of the sales. It wasn’t bad value either. You could get soup and a sandwich or panini for about £6. We did a bit of non-clothes shopping in the afternoon and lurked around in waterstones before getting a taxi over to the south side and sitting around in Assembly for a bit. We then went to Khushi’s for Dinner which was aces and certainly an experience. The atmosphere is very friendly, the food is great, service was quick and it’s great value. Definitely recommended.


I Have A New Phone

Me,Technology Wednesday 6th July 2005

It is shiny.

k750 - my new phone

It also has a much better camera (2 megapixel!) than my old one, which will handy for super quick snaps about town.


Urban Art Goes WordPress

Me Tuesday 28th June 2005

I’ve moved Urban Art from my 5-minute coding job over to WordPress. I’ve had to do quite a bit of hacking around with WordPress and I’ve customised the image upload admin page considerably. Hopefully this will make it easier and quicker for me to upload new pictures as they come in. I still have to do a bit more tweaking but it will be much more scalable for the future, as the site expands, and it allows for many more future features.


Nintendo Child

Links,Me,Technology Tuesday 28th June 2005

This site of Nintendo tat for the NES brought lots of childhood memories back. I used to go to my friend Marks house almost every day after school and play for hours on his NES. He had one way before me and had awesome games like Duck Hunt (stupid dog…) and MegaMan. Fun Times.


I Should Really Upgrade

Me,Technology Saturday 25th June 2005

In the current warm weather I have to run my PC with both sides off, lying on its side with a fan pointed at it:


Common Riding Photos

Me Thursday 23rd June 2005

Blimey it’s busy on here tonight…anyway, photos from the Common Riding last weekend are up for your viewing pleasure.


Dark side of the Garden

Design,Me Thursday 23rd June 2005

Thank you to everyone who clicked through my threadless links and bought something! Last week I had enough points for a free t-shirt and picked this beauty:

Dark side of the Garden

My Birthday

Me Thursday 23rd June 2005

Yesterday was my 24th birthday and Kerry took me out for a very nice dinner at the Tower, the swanky restaurant above the National Museum. We’ve been in the past and it has always been great but very expensive, so it’s saved for special occasions. I have some lovely carrot, corriander and ginger soup to start and then beef strips in a mustard, vegetable and lentil sauce with rice. It was very nice and I was surprisingly full after it. Kerry had mushroom soup and a smoked haddock and spinach penne pasta dish which smelt fantastic and tasted good aswell (when I manged to steal bits). Kerry, of course, had to have a chocolately dessert while I settled for just a strong coffee. It was a really good evening and thankfully the restaurant had huge opening windows as it was a humid summer evening.


Hardware Woes

Me Wednesday 15th June 2005

My main hard disk decided to make clicky noises and die the other night :(. I’m getting a shiny new 120GB one from ebuyer tomorrow, along with a DVD writer. But the tinkering will have to wait as I’m off for a long weekend in Selkirk with Kerry for the Common Riding.


Slashdot Aftermath

Me Tuesday 14th June 2005

A quick update on the aftermath of the slashdotting of GgSs last Thursday. The server only fell over for about 30 minutes or so, which I assume was just under the sheer weight of requests to Apache. For that single day we had in excess of 1 million hits and pushed just under 10 Gigs of bandwidth! I’m glad our web host likes us!


Gallery Upgrades

Me,Meta,Photography,Technology Sunday 12th June 2005

I’ve posted my photos from Rick & Rach’s wedding in the gallery for your viewing pleasure.

The gallery has been having a bit of a scrub lately. Using some mod-rewrite dark magic I’ve made the URLs much nicer and easier to read. Instead of having:


we now have:


A vast improvement!

The other main change is now when viewing a gallery the page is much simpler. Before I had things like: the image size, resolution, data and the filename. People won’t actually care about those things! All they want is to see all the images and maybe click on one to see a larger version. Working on customer facing e-commerce stuff has taught me a lot about removing barriers to navigation and generally making a users life easier. I figured it’s time I implemented some of it around here.


Good Times

Me Sunday 12th June 2005

One of my student drinking pals Douglas was back in Edinburgh last night with his Mrs so I met up for a drink. It turned into a general old skool night out, with past flat-mates and friends from university all turning up. I’d been pretty slack at the keeping in touch stuff after university, even though most people haven’t moved away. We just picked up like nothing had happened though and were jabbering away about all the usual stuff: comics, films, music, jobs etc. To cap it all off and make it an a typical night out we ended up in Opium at the end of the night. Good stuff.


Hold Onto Your Hats

Me Thursday 9th June 2005

Crikey, looks like GoogleSightseeing got slashdotted. The server is a bit sluggish at the moment, but it’s hanging in there. If it totally drops off at any point, mirrordot has an archive of the front page.


Backstage shows up on the O’Reilly Radar

Links,Me,Technology Thursday 2nd June 2005

I nice write-up of the backstage project over on the O’Reilly Radar with a link to my Travel Data Prototype.



Me,Technology,Work Friday 13th May 2005

Mutt is awesome. It’s a super hardcore console email client that I’ve been using for my personal mail at work. Not that I’m trying to be sneaky, but it keeps the personal mail out of the way in a terminal, and stops me getting distracted by it all the time. It supports IMAP nicely and has an insane level of customisation. I’ve got it colouring my inbox mails differently depending on the status of them and what their subjects/senders are. Its pretty neat. It also does threading, threading! I can’t live without it now and it drives me insane when I see people reading their mail in the wrong order through something like hotmail.


Stag Report

Me Monday 2nd May 2005

Wow, that was a great weekend. I am absolutely knackered, bruised, battered and still slightly hungover. But it was all fun! We were staying in some nice log cabins in the Yorkshire Dales for Friday and Saturday night. We got take-away from the nearest town on Friday and then drank and played poker for the rest of the night. When I say ‘played’ I really mean ‘bumbled along’. As only three of the ten of us knew how to play properly. They, of course, gave us a 2 second introduction and then launched into a full game of texas hold ’em. Good job we were only playing for chips 🙂

Saturday was spent getting covered in mud and paint at Go Ballistic paintballing in Dishforth. It was the first time I’d been paintballing and it was great fun. Wish I’d taken some gloves though as shots in the knuckles really sting. We had booked for a whole day and to be honest we could have just done with half. We were all knackered and out of paint (£6 for 100 shots!) by the afternoon. All fun though, and we had a game of ‘Hunt the Stag’ at the end 🙂 After a hard day fooling around with paint we collapsed back to the cabins got some dinner and then went on the ‘pub crawl’. There were only two pubs in the nearby village so it only just qualifies. After having a couple of jars in the first pub we go searching for the next one, only to find its not there. We stumble around in the dark for half an hour or so before giving up and going back to the cabins for more drink.

The next day we go to the (first) pub for a cracking Sunday lunch. The bar man has a good laugh at our expense as the mystical second pub had been demolished about three months ago. Oh and sunday lunch really was good, I’d heartily recommend it to anyone in their direction.

Stacks of photos for your viewing pleasure in our collective gallery.


Weekend Of Paint

Me Thursday 28th April 2005

I’m away from tonight for a long weekend of Stag paintball shenanigans with Rick and the lads. Should have some good stories and photos on Monday 🙂


Fame, Fortune, Cake

Links,Me Sunday 24th April 2005

Lately the boys and I over at Google Sightseeing have been conversing with Brad Stone, a journalist from Newsweek. His article about the whole thing is now up online to read and gives us a nice write-up along with lots of quotes from Alex. Annoyingly, he initially spelt my name as “Ollie” which drives me nuts (I always spell it “Olly”) so I dropped him a polite email and he changed it pronto :). Brad even gets in some cheeky digs at our quaint Brit view of the world and the wacky way we pronounce things (it was a telephone interview).


Stor Troopers

Links,Me Saturday 23rd April 2005

The avatar making website Stor Troopers is back after being offline for ages. So, here is me and kerry:


I’m A Star!

Me Thursday 21st April 2005

Wahey, I have a yellow star on ebay:

yellow star

go me.


Google Sightseeing

Links,Me,Photography,Technology Thursday 7th April 2005

James, Alex and I have started up a collaborative blog spotting cool stuff in the satellite photos on google maps. Go take a look.

Update: Well, that was massively more successful than we initially thought. We’ve had over eight hundred submissions and apparently we are using up to much of the server’s resources. We’re currently relocating to a friendlier host.

Update, update: Woo-hoo, we’re back!


Bunny Massacre

Me Sunday 27th March 2005
oh no! look at the poor thing!

CC: Scotland

Me Saturday 26th March 2005

Lately I’ve been wondering if I need to put some kind of CC license on my photos and words on the site. Thankfully I see that they are working on Scottish version of the license. It’s only a draft at the moment but its good to see one being actively worked on.


New Look GameSoc

Design,Gaming,Me,Technology Wednesday 23rd March 2005

A while ago in my role as “webmonkey” for GameSoc I thought that we were due a re-design. The site design had been unchanged for atleast a year and was starting to look rather dated. It was based around a horrendous table layout with a huge banner graphic. Really old-skool stuff. So, I’ve updated the colour scheme and stripped out some of the table layouts. A lot of the table stuff is still there but I really don’t fancy digging around in 30+ files changing <td>s and <tr></tr>s to <div>s and <span>s. The original site back-end code was written before CSS layouts were vogue. I think I’ll phase out the tables gradually.

I’ve also managed to crowbar in some nifty png image trickery. The shadows on the sides of the page content are actually pngs with variable transparency. This means the background image can change and the shadow will still ‘make sense’. Neato stuff, except that is totally breaks in IE (surprise). One hack later and IE is atleast displaying the image properly. But now you can’t click on any of the page! Slight flaw there microsoft… Another google later and I find this life-saving page. Apparently your image has to be really small in one of it’s dimensions. That’s one nasty bug.

Anyway, I like the new look and I’ll continue squashing those nasty tables. What do you think?


Footer Fixing

Me,Meta Monday 21st March 2005

I finally fixed up the footer over the weekend to display properly in IE & Safari. It had been bugging me for a while but displayed perfectly in everything else. Giving the right footer div a width property seemed to fix it. For some reason IE & Safari were collapsing it down to the width of the link images.

I also managed to fit in a ton of work on the GameSoc re-design. It’s all top secret at the moment but I’m sure I’ll be blabbing about it once it’s finished 🙂


Half Moon Bay

Design,Links,Me Saturday 19th March 2005

I was wandering around John Lewis last week and I noticed the really cool coasters:


A little bit periodic-table-like. They were rather expensive though so I thought I’d check online.
Unfortunately Half Moon Bay only do trade sales over the ‘net. While I was browsing their online catalogue I did notice this really funky NYC door mat:


…and this “lollertastic” pack of chewing gum which Kerry actually got me last christmas! (So thats where she got them from…)


Annual Threadless Order

Design,Me Friday 18th March 2005

Threadless have one of their fantastic $10 annual sales on at the moment. So Kerry and I have stocked up with a mega-order:


Even with $25 of postage it still works out so much better than buying shirts in the UK. Gotta love the current $ to £ exchange rate!


Friday & Saturday

Me Monday 28th February 2005

My Mum was up in Edinburgh to visit Kerry and I on Friday and Saturday of last weekend. She shopped most of Friday and then we met up and went out for dinner in Kalpna. Kalpna is famous in Edinburgh for its food and this was the first time any of us had been. It serves Indian food but all vegetarian. The portions look small but the food is somehow deliciously dense. Good stuff.

On Saturday we went to 80 Queen Street for the ‘Jazz Brunch’, which is surprisingly on Queen Street. Its a gorgeous cosy hotel-like bistro place which does delicious food accompanied by some nice light jazz.


Silly Adwords

Me,Technology Thursday 17th February 2005

I wish Google would filter out all these lame Adwords that just parrot back your search terms. They often make for some very silly results:


Me, My Name & My Google Rank

Me Thursday 17th February 2005

Just noticed, I seem to be the 3rd most know Olly in the world.



Me Wednesday 9th February 2005

I’m ill, been off work since last Friday. Being ill sucks…


Christmas Eve Already!

Me Friday 24th December 2004

Had some enjoyable drinks after work last night in the Merlin. Good few people went and everyone was in a good mood. I’m off to finish packing and then catch the train home now (far too early!). Have a good Christmas everyone!


Beasties Live

Me,Music Friday 10th December 2004

Last Saturday Kerry and I went to see the Beastie Boys live at the SECC in Glasgow. First time I’d seen them and the first time I’d been the SECC. The gig was amazing, we had a good spot quite near the front and managed to avoid the drunken beer-throwing and crushing that went on in the middle. They started with a huge screen showing what was happening back-stage. Some roadies were wheeling a big case up to the stage, smiling and slapping and pointing at it. They brought it up the stage, opened it and Mixmaster Mike jumped out and lept up to the DJ booth. He then did some amazing turntablist trickery for a bit including the “5-4-3-2-1” countdown from Thunderbirds (genius) and then the Beasties came jumping on to the stage in matching adidas tracksuits. It was a great show starting with them doing their “3 MCs and 1 DJ” style stuff. Then they went off the stage leaving Mike in the DJ booth. Then the booth disappeared backwards and a huge stage/float thing was wheeled around from the back with a whole band on it, plus the Beasties all in really bad suits. They then did a few of their more instrumental tracks before the stage did some more trickey and reverted back to DJ booth/dancing space. Amazing night in all, even though it took us 3 hours to get home.

Review here from the Independent.

And another from the Guardian.

And a last one from the Times.



Gaming,Me,University Sunday 21st November 2004

GameSoc had it’s AGM last week and the new committee is now in full effect. No one else wanted to be the WebMaster so I volunteered to stand again and was duly elected. This year I’m gonna try and put my stamp on the site by stripping out a lot of junk we never use. We never use the forum, the front page needs a re-design and the colour scheme is looking a little dated. On major task would be to make the whole site standards compliant. Not as easy as it sounds, as most of the pages are generated by the back end so it means lots of hacking around in php files. I should really write some kind of numpties guide to the backend aswell as I’m not going to be doing this forever.



Me Wednesday 17th November 2004

Oh baby, how I have missed you! Sweet, sweet internet is back! BT finally activated our ADSL connection today and ben ninja-ed ISA server into action on our server PC. Oh man, its good to back on the bit torrent wagon, running the IM clients, constantly polling everyone’s RSS feed. I don’t know how I survived without it really, I’m sure Kerry saw I lot more of me though.



Me Wednesday 10th November 2004

We have a phone line at last and luckily we same to be on the ADSL register immediately. I’ll be signing us up to force9 1MB tonight I think.



Me Monday 1st November 2004

Thanks to everyone who came along on Friday night, it was really good fun and more people than I expected turned up! I’ve got some pics on my camera somewhere that I’ll dig out later.



Me,Technology Tuesday 26th October 2004

I got a mobile bill for £103 yesterday.
Apparently I was “on an old tariff” and was getting charged more than double the data rate than normal. Numpties…


Spectacles, Wallet & Watch

Me Monday 25th October 2004

I went to get my eyes tested on Saturday for the first time in at least four years. I was amazed to find that my eye-sight was not drastically failing. One eye had got slightly worse but only by 0.25 which is the smallest unit they measure in (apparently). I need some new frames anyway so I went ahead and got some nice neat ones and a free pair of sunglasses aswell. Thank goodness for credit cards, blimey glasses are not cheap!


Flat Warming

Me Monday 25th October 2004

Ben and I are at last having our super-cool flat warming this Friday from 8pm onwards. We’ll provide the snacks and mixers if you provide some alcohol 🙂 Drop me a line if you need directions or don’t know where the new flat is.


I Hate ADSL Already

Me,Technology Monday 18th October 2004

Our new flat has a phone line but it has never been activated. This means we have to get BT to ‘install’ a line before we can get it even activated. Ben called them up and they can’t send an engineer until the 5th of November. BT really do suck. So, no phone line for at least three weeks, then we’ll have to wait for it to appear on the ADSL register, and then we have the wait to get ADSL installed and then activated from force9. For the moment I’m surviving with brief doses of GPRS ‘net via my phone and bluetooth to my PC. Wonderful thing technology.


Hacker Alert

Me,Meta,Technology Thursday 7th October 2004

Urge to kill rising…….

Some little toe-rag had hacked into my site and was hosting some kinda ebay-credit-card scamming pages! Godamn! I was browsing my access logs (as you do) and noticed some strange hits to a directory called ‘zloboz’. Strange, don’t remember uploading anything called that. Uh-oh… I immediately deleted the files, which was really stupid thinking back as I could have seen what he was up to with the data. Anyway, I’ve since changed my passwords and checked the email accounts, aliases, databases, cron, redirects, everything. Just in case he’d left some sneaky stuff anywhere else.

Anyway, I’ve got the site backup from yesterday downloaded and I’m going to extract his naughty files and have a look at what he was upto. I’ll report my findings.


Thank You Nice Bus Driver

Me Thursday 7th October 2004

I finally got through to Lothian Buses lost property yesterday and amazingly they actually had my phone! I belted along on my lunch break today and got the pesky thing back. It was amazing how much I rely on it but don’t realise. All of yesterday I was saying “oh I’ll just text so-and-so”, “I’ll just give my parents a call” then going “oh, wait…”. I was also using the GPRS via Bluetooth to get on the net with my PC, no internet in the new flat yet. All I can say is thank you to who ever handed it in to the bus driver and thank you to Lothian for having an organised lost property service.


I’m A Moron

Me Wednesday 6th October 2004

I managed to lose my mobile somewhere on the way to work yesterday. I suspect I left it on the first bus I got in the morning. I’ve been trying Lothian buses lost property all day but they seem rather tricksy to get hold of :(. So it’s email only contact for the mean time. Not having a landline or internet in the new flat is also complicating things.


New Flat

Me Tuesday 5th October 2004

Well, the move went reasonable well. Apart from the van rental company screwing us over on the morning… We went along to pick up the van and apparently they had ‘cancelled the reservation’, without telling us…. Very helpful! Jed and I then had to waste about two hours frantically calling around town to find another van. We eventually got one at Condor which was actually cheaper than the intial place. It took three trips to get all of my stuff over and we managed to fit in a very long (and expensive) trip to Ikea aswell. Many, many thanks to Jed for driving the van and generally being a top geeza.



Me Thursday 30th September 2004

Ben and I finally picked up the keys to our new place on Monday :). I’ve managed to get tomorrow off Work to move all my junk over. I’ve hired a van and the ever helpful Jed has volunteered to drive as I still haven’t got my license yet. Everything is pretty much still in boxes so it should only take a couple of trips in the van. Hopefully we’ll have time left to pop to Ikea for a ‘few things’.

Got to get ADSL sorted in the place aswell. Force9 2MB is looking very tempting…



Me Monday 20th September 2004

Looks like Ben and I may have finally found a flat. Now we’ve just got the get the 8 billion (4) required references together before someone else snaps it up…


Back, Back One Again

Me Wednesday 1st September 2004

I am back and installed at Ian‘s flat. This is Good News. No longer do I have the ~2 hour commute every morning. The extra lie-in on Monday was so good.