A tale of a Scotsman living in SW london...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Unbelievably, Aberdeen won last night! I'm stunned, but so happy! Beating the Danish champions, who beat Ajax and Manchester United last season is good, but beating them 4-0 is unreal!

So we go into the last 32 of the draw, to play a group winner and with no limitations on playing teams in the same country, we can play Everton, Athletico (again - who beat us in the groups), Villareal, Hamburg, Leverkusen, Getafe, Bordeaux and Bayern Munich. Of that lot, I want one of the big German teams, Leverkusen have a stadium which would have an incredible atmosphere, but Bayern would be the big one - seeing as we beat them in the last 16 in the European Cup in 83. Maybe we should just keep them for the next round :-) As an aside, the key players that night in Fergie's first big team where Gordon Strachan and Alex McLeish. Fergie's team from the 80s has produced a huge number of good managers so can you imagine how many there will be from his team of the 90's????

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Last weekend I managed to finally get hold of a wii. It's brilliant, a workout and a games console. The interactivity is awesome, you really feel part of the game as you lunge across your lounge throwing a bowling ball in the same action you would in the bowling alley. If only I could get a second wii remote - they are rarer than a wii!!!

Also, this is interesting - the BBC moves to personalised portals on the beta site

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Well it seems there will be some kind of protest this week about the cost of fuel in the UK. The plans seem secretive, so I'd suggest filling up on Tuesday night if you need to like me, when the car is essential next weekend, when we visit a friend from Oz home with their kids for the first time and my cars range would get me there, but not back home again afterwards. Should probably have bought a diesel, but they don't sound anywhere near as nice :-)

Anyway, I suspect this has been coming for a while and I try and keep politics clear from here, but something needs to change with the way the motorist is treated.

Link if you want more info.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Do you ever have to work with someone who you just want to smash against a wall? Particularly when you just know they will try and claim your work as their own?

Time for a cunning plan to be actioned...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's one of those times where life is just busy. Lot's on at work, as usual at this time of year which always seems to be admin crazy. As I'm meeting the leader of my part of the business today I might mention it. Then again, perhaps not.

Long day yesterday due to a couple of incidents on the M40 - it amazes me how long a queue can get in such a short time. Yesterday had two - one where a car was on it's roof in the outside lane (how? I mean you've got to be driving too fast and like an idiot to have to end up on your roof surely? the watchword on the motorways is anticipation and consideration people!) followed by a power cut which knocked out the traffic lights at the top of a slip road. 2 mile tailback...

The price of petrol has raised it's head again. I stopped last night on the way home and it was 104.9ppl!!! Madness. So the moral of that story is always use www.petrolprices.com before you travel to see the cheapest petrol near you.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh dear, that didn't go to plan did it?

Croatia played with passion, with pace and intelligence. They were worthy winners. England didn't play with any of those things and deservedly lost. I won't dwell on it, but Lampard was bloody awful - how he gets a game in an England shirt is beyond me. Club football he is good (ish - he still plays for Chelsea remember!), international level he has not played a good game in ages. Gerrard was ineffective, although I can't help but feel that's because he didn't get the ball enough going forward. I feel sorry for Carson - the pitch and conditions were awful to play in such a big game and I hope he doesn't let it get to him.

You could see the pressure the players were under on their players faces, particularly Gerrard and Lampard, and it showed with the performance on the pitch. The press has changed in recent years on how much influence they have over football, and wider public figures lives, and it's not for the good. It's to sell more papers, and as such McLaren will be sacked today. Who will replace him? Nobody with an ounce of sense, that's for sure. So expect to see Sam Allardyce in place soon.

The positives from an England view was the giraffes finish for the second goal. A perfect cross from brand beckham, and Crouchs first touch was superb, the finish even better. It reminded me of a debate my mates and I have every time we get together - what's the best touch/pass in this move? The long ball from De Boer was inch perfect, the first touch makes the chance, the second makes the space, and the finish is sublime.

Also, one more thing - Scotland finished on 24 points in a much harder group to Englands 23 ;-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wembley madness

Why spend £780M on a stadium designed to make sure the pitch is in good condition, and then build a retractable roof on it as well to keep it dry, and then not use it? Wembley is a technical masterpiece for it's design, and as a venue it's superb with little queuing for anything, easy to get in and out of, great view all around the stadium of the pitch. But was it really needed?

Would the Stade De France have done the job? It's certainly big enough, was a lot cheaper to build, and if they were to do it again I'm sure they would lose the running track to get a better atmosphere. Millenium Stadium - looks like a dog, but what an atmosphere. Shame the pitch suffers so badly. However, if you really want to see a brilliant covered stadium, there is only one - and it's German.

The Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen is the home ground of Shalke. It has a retractable pitch, so it can sun itself when not in use, retractable roof, a moveable video cube and one of the stands move. It seats 60,000+, but there would be no reason why you couldn't make it bigger. Why people start again with design when something as brilliant as this exists, I'll never know. And having been to both it and Wembley - I'd rather watch football in Gelsenkirchen. The atmosphere is just unbelievable, the view perfect and did I mention the atmosphere? Noise like you've never heard from a crowd (well, maybe Hampdem on Saturday, but as I wasn't there I can't really comment!)

See for yourself. The pitch is out the front in this one.

The video cube can be moved if needed, or left where it is even with the roof open.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Part of my house has a flat roof on it. This was replaced last year as it was leaking. However, I'm now convinced it leaked less than the new one. Everytime we get prolonged rain, it comes in through the roof in the study. Now, this is where all the computer gear is, so it always makes me nervous!

Luckily, I was at home yesterday to catch the water, and so the roofer comes out today to fix it. Only good thing about it is that I get another night at home.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just to compound my week, England will qualify by fluke of an Israel result against Russia. So a few thoughts on England if I may...

The campaign has been awful, though you could see it coming as England have underperformed with the best set of players they have had in years. The World Cup was poor, and as Sven has shown he's not a bad coach, where does the fault lie? Well, yes, the coaches need to take some blame, but not all of it and if there is a witch hunt for Mclaren then that's a huge shame. He was never the right man for the job (but with the Scolari situation in Portugal, he wasn't either!) but if England don't qualify for the championships don't sack the coach. It's a reaction to please the fans and the press. And just who would take over? You don't see world class managers running for the job so it'll be Sam Allardyce, who has no big European experience.

So the players - well Rooney hadn't scored for years, Owen was permanently injured, and David James and Paul Robinson are flying (not) but the spine of the team is one any manager would like. Rio, Terry, Lampard, Gerrard, Hargreaves (well, most managers would like him!) plus one of the worlds best (as well as most hated) left backs in Cashley Cole. Huge experience in Gary N at right back, and then up front there are world class players in Rooney and Owen. It's the right players, but they just don't gel and play like a team. And that comes back to the coach.

The Premiership has to be part of this - the top players play two games every week, no wonder they are knackered as they run at least 10km in each game. So ease up the games and players can perform better for the national team.

I hope England qualify, if only to keep the press amused next summer. They don't particularly deserve it, but that's life. I also don't think they would have got out of our group if they had been in it, but at least the dark days of 4th level seeds are gone for us now we are ranked 13 in the world (oh yes, England are only 11th) so we'll be the second pot for World Cup qualifiers. Combined with a squad who are predominantly under 25, things are looking rosy for the Scotland squad. If I was an English fan, I don't think I'd be looking forward quite so much...

Friday, November 16, 2007

The tension builds....

Can Scotland qualify for the Euro's by beating the world champions? It's classic Scotland though. This could all have been sorted out in the last round of games when we failed to beat Georgia on their patch, leaving us the hard one.

Scotland believes though. And with good reason - we've beaten France twice, and the Ukraine, and were unlucky to lose 2-0 in Italy. It's a big difference to the World Cup qualifiers when you couldn't give tickets away. In fact, I went with my Dad and brother to watch a rubbish game in what was Berti's last game in charge. Now, they could have sold Hampdem out twice.

Do I believe we'll win? Well I want to, and I think we'll be well up for it - but isn't it classic Scotland to get this far and fail? For once though, I do believe...

Now, where did I put that Runrig CD?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nightmare. First Aberdeen get beat by Lokomotiv, and then we get robbed by the Gorgie lot. Not a good week to be an Aberdeen supporter.

To cheer myself up, here's a list of names from the 5-a-side leagues in Glasgow. We used to play in Aberdeen while I was at Uni under the name "Big Aye", which then became the "Mighty Big Aye" on winning the league for the 3rd time ;-). I think I'll work through some of these on my fantasy football team (doing well, after an inspired move saw me transfer Arteta for Cahill, who then scored a great overhead kick against Chelsea!)

Steaua Needarest
Dyslexia Untied
Red Star Bellend
Sporting Lesbian
Grass Smokers Zurich
Hajduk Spliff
LSD Eindhoven
Albion Hungovers
Real Sosobad
Shackthar Senseless
Hardly Athletic
St. Mirnoff
Real Ale Madrid
Fred West Ham
Unreal Madrid
Rapid Viagra
Bayern Bru
Athletico Madras
Deportivo Lack a Talent
Bayer Neverlusen
Borussia Nosobad
Sparka Fag
Graham Rix U16's
Big Bertha Berlin
Inter Masister
Substandard Liege
Torpedo Belgrano
Bayer Leverarchfile
FC Copenbadly
Sporting Abeergut
Dinamo Mince
Red Stripe Belgrade
Fake Madrid
Unathletic Madrid
Outer Milan

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Recently, squash has been put on the back burner while badminton comes to the fore. I used to play a lot when I was a kid, every week in fact, and loved it and I've found that years later I still really enjoy it. Last night was the first time I'd played doubles since I was about 12 and what a game it was! Fast, furious, light hearted - everything you want in the game. I suspect I shouldn't have stopped playing when I was young, although the session we went to clashed with hockey training so it fell by the wayside.

Big night tonight, Aberdeen play Lokomotive Moscow in the UEFA cup. Hopefully at least a draw, but we really need a win. Aberdeen's team are put together on a shoestring and Moscow have spent millions of pounds on their team - stranger things have happened...

One interesting thing about the game though - Aberdeen took over 1500 fans to Athens to play Panathinaikos. They took a similar number to the Ukraine when we played Dnipro, and it's looking like 3000 fans to Madrid when we play Athletico. Lokomotiv have asked for 6 tickets for the game in Aberdeen tonight. That means the Loko bench will have more support than fans in the stadium! And with a sell out on the cards, that's 20,000 Aberdeen fans supporting a team playing some of the best football they've played in years.

Come on you reds!!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ah, what bliss the weekend was.

For the first time since September, I woke up in my own bed on Sunday morning. This has been the result of two weddings and a friends party, so it was a huge relief. To celebrate, breakfast was cooked while watching the excellent "Hot Fuzz". If you can imagine any police film from the 90's, this parodies the lot of them. Genius.

Saturday night was spent with friends in Weybridge to celebrate a friends birthday. So drinks were had on the house before reliving our youth by drinking bottles of beer in the street as walked to the curry house. As we walked along the street of very expensive houses (1M+), we pondered what we looked like - 12 of our number are well educated and with good jobs, one of whom is a solicitor, all in our late 20s, early 30s and all drinking in the street. Caused some amusement amongst our group :-)

An excellent curry was had, back to the house and a game of Articulate was played. I'm not very good at games like this, but got lucky with my first set of questions as they were all easy to describe :-) I could hardly pronounce any of the second lot!

Friday, October 26, 2007

So, long time in writing, but I thought I'd pop up a few funnies from the week.

Stadium announcement of the week?

A message for the owner of car registration -----. Your windows are wide open in the car park. It's a Rover, so it won't get stolen, but you had better return to it.

heard at Plymouth Argyle v Coventry

This was heard on Irish TV just before the Rugby World Cup final. Never a truer word said :-)
And here we go, Jonny Wilkinson versus South Africa.

Finally, this really made me laugh. Hampshire police new bus advert. You'd think they would have checked where the exhaust was though...

Friday, October 12, 2007

It seems one MP is standing up against the governments strategy of using MS products


It has to be said that after a number of years in various projects I would agree that there can be a bias towards it, however it is not exclusive. Some areas are more prone towards it than others, as you would expect to find in any company.

The problem becomes a cost one - when the company (as this could be any company, not just government) signs up to get all MS licenses for free or vastly reduced cost, there is the desire to use it even if it's not the ideal fit. In some cases it will do the job, in others it won't, but will be made to do it and people left to make do. No wonder people dislike IT so much with that attitude about.

There is not one software vendor in the world who makes the best software in every area. So why sign up for an agreement with one where you are predisposed to use them?

Makes no sense to me...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What would the good people of Tewkesbury have done for this earlier this year?

Monday, October 01, 2007


So, my broadband has been playing up today. It's got slower all day and then my PC blue screened when I tried to reboot it. Nightmare.

So I call the wonders that is our helpdesk. They directed me a broadband speed test website. It crashed and wouldn't load the first time I tried it as the speed was so slow. I left it as I had to collect a package in town, and said I'll do it when I get back. As if by magic, I reload the site and it's back to normal speed. Although, turns out that speed it rubbish...

When we eventually move house, I'll be ditching the work broadband and getting something else in where I control the speed - this is useless.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


10 finished a few hours ago.

Bit sore now, but at the time I felt I could have gone round again. It's a very pleasant route, but very rough in places and also a bit narrow which means you end up slowing down as some daft woman who thinks she is a sub 45 runner is actually an unfit duffer who's walking it. This is annoying, but a fact of life with these charity runs. The fact that they've entered the run is to be congratulated though and nobody is really that bothered but when your in your stride it's a bit off putting. It's very sad going round reading the notes people have on their backs for the reason they are running. Uncles, Aunts, Mum's, Dad's, or just photos of loved ones. It's an emotional thing but makes you realise the importance of helping out with money to fund the research into cancer. At the end of the day, you don't know who it's going affect, although (in my view) it should be funded by the government but there you go. I lost a very dear friend last year to cancer and couldn't stop thinking of the big guy as I ran round. He found out he had it in December, and was gone by February. Makes you think doesn't it...

Keep on running...

10K starts in two hours. Not at all nervous.

Good win for Lewis this morning in awful weather conditions! I wouldn't fancy driving my road car in that, never mind a 700bhp F1 car - true skill and bravery.

Yesterday saw various tasks completed, none of which are particularly interesting but all necessary. Ended with the rugby, watching a Scotland team inch past Italy - they really are a dirty cheating side who deserve to get beaten every time they play. It's not in keeping with why I love watching rugby, but I guess typical of certain natures - if you can't out-skill the opposition, cheat. And cheats never prosper ;-)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Petrol prices

Vote with this lot to show your displeasure about a proposed £2.35 tax hike on petrol that is due to come in next week - whish would push unleaded up to over £1 a litre.

I did some sums a while ago and now fill up in London as the petrol is cheaper than in Worcester where I spend a lot of time. It's 3p cheaper a litre. I usually fill up with 55litres. So on one tank of fuel that's £1.65 more for the same product. Over the course of a year, that's over £85!!! So, on a similar basis, this would cost me an extra £122.2 a year. On fuel that already has 80p tax on 95p per litre. Stuff that...


Thursday, September 27, 2007

A collegue highlighted to me the story the other day of Sisyphus. If your not aware of who or what he's done, he was the Greek hing who was punished for tricking and deceiving the gods (amongst others) and was made to push a large boulder up a hill for eternity. However, this was an interesting summary of the story:
It is the total lack of value of what Sisyphus has to work so hard to achieve that makes his punishment so horrific. It is not because his labor is merely arduous and eternal, but because it is arduous and eternally pointless, that he must suffer from doing it. One cannot imagine him happy unless one foolishly imagines him, or imagines him foolish. As a metaphor for part of the human condition and the plight of some people -- even those often considered most successful because we mistakenly think change is progress or that there are no hollow victories -- the myth of Sisyphus is a sad commentary. The work of far too many people has been, and continues to be, pushing a rock up a hill merely to change its location.
Sounds like everybody's job at some time or another doesn't it...
Ah the joys. The team I work with are a bit wiped out this morning. This may be something to do with the leaving do for one of our team last night. He was tipsy before even got to the restaurant, which is probably the fault of our Spur 0, meeting room 1 staff who supplied him with an Apple Schnapps on the house as he was leaving.

Needless to say, a good curry was had a big turn out (there were 1about 16 of us) before retreating to a local bar that is a specialist in whisky where we proceded to try and taste all 100 of them before closing (which was a challenge, as it gave us 15 minutes...)

Prior to this, I'd done a 7.2km run (according to the gmap-pedometer site) in 45 minutes, which included a 5 minute stretch, so the time aspect to this weekends run is looking good. I could have carried on and done a full 10 last night but was running a bit behind time as I was supposed to be in the bar! Such is life.

All in all, I can't wait to get home today and some kip!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thought I'd share some interesting web sites with you.

This is a good one for walkers and runners - a Google map mashup that let's you click a route onto the map and it calculates how far the distance is. Very useful, especially with a 10K run on the horizon it let's you accurately chart your training miles.

The next one is a bit funny - it's built into Google Earth and is a flight sim.
Flight sim
I was useless and kept crashing...
I'm never having kids - one weekend with the future niece and nephew have told me that! OK, I know I will, but seriously they are hard work! Good fun though, and an excuse to go and see an exhibition on Wallace and Gromit. Well executed and interesting, with lots of models and background. The best bit about it all though is the background adverts and the like.

Rubbish rugby yesterday, to be expected though as we put out a B side, to give them a full week to prepare for Italy. It just shows how Italy have come on, they used to be the whipping boys in the 6 nations and now we take a week to make sure we win (and even then it's not assured!) Roll on Saturday night for the big game! I love these big tournaments, live sport on a Saturday night - you can't beat it.

Football wasn't so great over the weekend. A beating by Rangers was expected, if not one to be enjoyed, Liverpool need to get hold of Rafa and leave Torres on the field and not the bench. What's the point in spending all that money and not playing him? Arsenal - who'd have seen that one coming - they are awesome again! Granted, it was against Derby who are hardly great, but with some easier games in the next few weeks for them they will still be top of the table for a few weeks yet. My revamped fantasy team are coming good, with the highest points tally in our league this week (mainly thanks to Cesc) but with the midfield all contributing well it makes a big difference. Time to swap out Martins though - he's not getting near a game with Newcastle so might swap him out for Adebayor or Anelka, who are both starting and getting goals (you get points for time on the field).

Chelski - oh how I laugh. Avrum Grant will win you nothing. Marco Van Basten is not the man for you - he's his own man and would end up arguing with Roman. So until Roman does his UEFA pro badge, you'll get nobody managers or those with aspirations and no credentials.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Save the cheerleader, sav ethe world!

What can I say - I'm rubbish.

So what news you ask? Well, we might be selling our flat to a Belgium woman, who lives in Sweden, who's buying it for her son, who studies in London. Confused? I am...

Holiday was good, much needed week in the sun. I loved that area of Andalucia, such a nice pace of life. Coming back to London was depressing - too many people, going too fast through life, and with too little respect for each other. Oh, and here's something you may not have read - as of Monday if you get done for speeding and don't say who the driver was, the owner of the car will get double points. Just like that. That's the way to solve speeding people speeding. This country is run by bloody morons who think a yellow box will replace policemen.

This has all contributed to a post holiday "blue phase" - which I think is not helped by a build up of trying to do wedding stuff, move house, work and get organised for best man duties at weddings. Anyway, this in turn was not helped by my manager at work who I had a meeting with yesterday. Needless to say I was "pure raging" yesterday afterwards, so after a good meeting with a wedding florist at night (nothing like driving in London at night - much fewer cars!) I settled back to watch Heroes with a large Scapa. I'll need to write a whisky post sometime...And Heroes! Save the Cheerleader, Save the World!

Anyway, this weekend I'll be entertaining the future niece and nephew (although I've been Uncle all their lives, as the little one was only 4 months when I met her for the first time) at a Wallace and Gromit exhibition. This is either going to go well or badly :-)

Had to put the heating on last night for the first time this year - it's got so cold in London suddenly. So, I'm off to take the missus out for the night to cheer us up :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fancy a new job?

With all the uncertainty over project roles, I'm always on the lookout for jobs. For those who work in IT and fancy a new job, this one seems a nice way to spend the time. Personally, for that rate I'd clean toilets....

Hmm, I seem to have lost a post somewhere along the line. I'll summarise it for you...

Drove to look at houses - two of interest - identical houses, one has been done up, the other is a mess. So we might buy the one that's a mess. Typical eh?

Went to the wedding venue to see it again with the missus folks and one of her bridesmaids. It looks great, everyone loved it, and we're looking forward to it!

This week has been a "ticking along" week. Lot's of bitty pieces at work, lot's of little tasks to do at home relating to weddings and stag do's.

However, some interesting things for you to note:
HP announced that they are now a $100bn company. It's mad, the company is now worth more than double from when they let the woman take charge. It's taken $100bn in revenue in the last 12 months, which is a first for an IT company - serious wedge.

A chat with a friendly AA roadside guy the other day revealed that he spends most time with Freelander and Land Rovers, along with X-Trails. Now, he didn't say why. I just wonder - how many of the owners couldn't find the spare tyre strapped to the boot??

Friday, August 17, 2007

Odd. Not sure why it's done it, but the last post was written on Sunday but it's listed as Friday. Bizarre. Needless to say, I did all that on Saturday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's interesting to see large companies shift focus. For years, Microsoft made their money by flogging Office and Windows to home consumers. But they couldn't expand that any more. After all, once a home user has paid £400 to MS for applications software, they tend to hold onto it longer than a corporate. And they had sold their software to all the corporates who, in the main, saw the software as a basic expense to get the basics (mail, internet, file and print). And it does this pretty well. But the shareholders demand growth along a similar vein to Google, so the business plan needed changing.

Now, they've bought Aquantive. This is a slight copycat purchase after Google had bought Double Click, but this deal dwarfs that one. This a $6billion purchase, compared to the $3.1billion Google paid. And for what? Well, they are buying on of the leading lights in online advertising, respected and with a large client base. Who in turn now have access to the in depth knowledge of the operating system the masses use.

What's the bets on the next MS service pack with a back door for their own advertising? Or firewall rules to block Google's ad's? It's the next big turf war as companies try to expand a portfolio to give them a new stream of revenue away from the core products.

An interesting side show to this story is that Google's purchase needs regulator approval - guess who was shouting "anti-trust!" the loudest???

Another interesting story was the broadband companies against the BBC over it's iPlayer service. The boradband companies (two in particular - Tiscali and Carphone Warehouse). Here's a quote:
"We don't see any reason why some of the cost of transmission over our network shouldn't be paid by the provider of the content. We don't believe that the potential for it to cause congestion is being properly recognised and acknowledged."
Now maybe I'm missing something here but surely the way it works is this - I pay for a broadband service (well, I would if I did, but fortunately my work pays), and there is nothing in the service definition that restricts what you can do with it. Now, some have tier limits and download limits etc - some don't and I'd suggest if your going to be an avid iPlayer viewer you'll need the latter.

It sounds like bleating from the broadband companies - they'll be hit by traffic they've not had before and will have to invest to support it, or people will leave. It's interesting that the two companies in question have questionable support and are aimed as low cost service providers - however it's likely they have a large number of subscribers who want to use this free service. There is a different argument which supports them of course, which says that to deliver the service the BBC need to have a mechanism to get it to people. I don't buy this - nobody even blinked when Channel 4 started a very similar service (although not free, more of their programmes are now free than when they started).

My advice to the providers? Stop your bleating, invest and just support your customers needs. Things will change over the next few years as people start moving towards content on demand, if you didn't see it coming then you need to look at why you didn't...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A decent enough drive up, but with horrible weather near to Worcester it was not the most relaxing drive. The spray was so bad that I came off the motorway early and came in through the back roads. This involves a lot of roundabouts, and experience has taught me that wet weather, roundabouts, rear wheel drive and a powerful engine usually means you'll end up sideways before you know it.

Much amusement.

Busy few days ahead, but with no squash and a 10K ahead I was hoping to get out and try the new trainers. I'm many things but running in the rain is plain daft. It's wet and miserable. Still, in my gym bag I've got my swimming goggles, maybe I'll try them...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fantasy football team in tatters!

For the record, the team was:

Chimbonda Lescott Shorey
Ronaldo (C) Nani Arteta Pearson
Rooney Berbatov Zamora

Which didn't do that well at the weekend, thanks in no large part to the Spurs and United contingent. So some work has been done, Rooney and Zamoro out (Rooney is very expensive), replaced with Martins from Newcastle and Johnson from Everton. These will kick in just in time for Everton's game tomorrow, so hopefully Johnson will come good for me. Next up is to swap out Nani, he's looked woeful yesterday, but I've used up my free transfers (and paid for another with a point deduction).

Went to watch the second half of the United game in the pub yesterday. One at the bottom of our road used to be pretty sketchy but it's all been done up so we went down. They have more Samsung LCD TV's than Dixons in there - from our seats we could have watched 4 of them. The pub also had the game in HD. This is the first time I've watched a game in HD and all I can say is "wow". It was stunning. The level of detail is unreal, although I don't think it's really necessary to see every bead of sweat. While very good, is it worth the fee Sky charges? I don't think it is at the moment, you pay a lot of money for not a lot of coverage (and they've just put the price up).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Went over to a BBQ last night with some friends from work. She has a mad dog, a staffordshire bull terrier, who always livens up a night :-)

Discovered my cardio workout yesterday too. How's this sound?
  • 20 minutes on the cross trainer (this I enjoy, it's not too hard but burns a load of calories!)
  • rowing machine (I'm going to hate this thing) - 500m flat out, rest for 30 seconds. Do this 10 times (500m takes between 2m 12 seconds and never more than 2 mins 20)
  • Back to the cross trainer for another 20 minutes
  • The plank
The plank is a killer. It's actually a yoga position where you basically support your entire body weight on your stomach muscles. It absolutely kills and 60 seconds at a time is more than enough!

Good start to the football season, although my fantasy football team needs Rooney and Ronaldo to do some good for me today to bump my points up! Whole team needs tweaking, as you can never tell on day one who's going to be on form or not - Man City look ripe for plundering players from though!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'd rather be with Hazel...

As some of you know, I'm trying to get into shape at the moment (although I'm in not bad shape, there is some work to be done :-) ) However, the gym bunny who was so nice last week now seems to have become a member of General Woundwort's evil army. Her programme of punishment she has made seems to be designed to kill me. Let me give you an example.

This is workout one - the weight orientated one of the two she has made. The other focuses on cardio work and no weights.
  • Warm up on the bike. 5 minutes on level 9 at 90+ rpm. Followed by 10 minutes on level 15 (I've never been higher than 12!) at 110+ (for the record, I tried this yesterday. There is as much chance of me doing that as finding WMD in Iraq). I settled at 100+, and was sweating buckets by the end. This is the warm up and I've already done more on the bike than I would in a usual session.
  • Squats. With weights. Heavy ones.
  • 2000m row on highest setting, flat out. (this takes under 9 minutes. Albeit 8.59, although that's still under 9!)
  • weights - 3 different types, doing what is called "drop sets" where you start with a low(ish, we're still talking 20kg+) weight and do 12, then do another set of 10, then a set of 8, each time increasing the weight).
  • 1500m row on highest setting, flat out
  • weights, as before, different ones. Including the seated row. Which I found incredibly hard after just rowing 3500m.
  • 1000m row. you get the picture...
  • sit ups. Lying on a 45% incline. Upside down. Until you can do no more. In front of a mirror. All you can see is your face turning ever more incredible colours every time you come up.
  • Crunches. While supporting your entire body weight with your arms. Until you can do no more.
  • floor crunches. 3 sets of 10
  • floor side crunches. 3 sets of 10
  • stretch, curl up, collapse.
Now, for the observant amongst you, that's a good 30 minutes of cardio. Which is what i normally do in my "cardio sessions". Today is my cardio workout. I'm dreading it.

The only plus to this was that my missus has her plan tomorrow with the gym bunny. Except the gym bunny is doing it as a personal trainer session. Which means she controls the rest periods etc - I at least could collapse in a heap every now and again ;-)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Low emission, high power, good MPG?

Now here's a story to get car drivers happier - we all want (really, we do!) a big petrol engine. We can't afford said engine in terms of outright purchase and the fuel costs to run them are scary. How about, then, an engine that offers you 3.5 V6 petrol performance, but the running costs of a small diesel?

Sounds too good to be true? Well, Mercedes are keeping slightly quiet on this but have developed just that engine. It's called a "DiesOtto" (don't you love it??) and currently, is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with twin sequential turbochargers and direct injection (the "otto" bit). But the clever bit is that Merc engineers have incorporated both the conventional Otto cycle and a sparkless, diesel-style combustion (the "diesel" bit). The breakthrough is that it basically runs at two compression ratios, which is very clever.

The techy bit I'll let Top Gear cover...

On start-up, the engine runs in standard petrol mode, with spark plugs igniting petrol injected directly into the cylinder. But once the engine is warm and cruising, it switches to a more efficient 'diesel mode', raising the compression ratio and deactivating the spark plugs. And because it runs on petrol, the DiesOtto boasts lower emissions than an equivalent diesel engine.

Now, the figures - the 1.8-litre engine has 238bhp and 295bhp of torque, with 40mpg in a car the size of an Merc S-Class. Which weighs the same as Norway. Put it in a C-class and you've got a potent little beast. It'll be production ready sometime near 2012, so maybe not the next car, but the one after that.

Just so long as they have learnt how to build them properly by then again...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Battle at Kruger

This is an amazing video!!! Look out for the reason they drag it out of the water...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Run, Forest, Run!!!

A really pleasant evening last night as I'm resting the dodgy elbow I seem to have developed from squash, a run was in order. So I ran down to the race course and did a circuit of it (not on the actual course, as someone suggested last night, although there would be nothing to stop you as it's not sealed off). In all, it was probably about 5k and took a good 30 minutes. The downside is that I now know I do need to get trainers for running in as I have blisters. This is down to the design of the shoe - I've discovered a lot about different brands styles of fitting - Adidas (current shoe) are narrower fitting (which is fine) but also have a higher instep, which is where I have the problem. The current ones are fine for the gym but with an impending 10K I think some dedicated running shoes are called for.

There are a number of places where they do gait analysis in London, so I'll head to one of those over the weekend and get fitted out. Nothing like new sports equipment to get you excited again!

Monday, August 06, 2007

The whole word is conspiring...

The missus has signed us both up for a 10K run in September. I've done this particular event before, a run around the lovely surroundings of Hampton Court Palace grounds. It's a nice run, fairly flat but on pretty rubbish running ground as it's all a bit uneven and covered in deer/rabbit crap. Last time it nearly killed me as I'd done little training and it was really hot. So hopefully the weather this time will be nice but not hot, and I'll have done some road running before then.

Still at least I'll be fit, which is the whole point. Though trying to train for this, plan a wedding, move house, and work is all going to be an interesting challenge!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Good to see Alonso get his punishment. Shame it hit Mclaren as well, but there you go. Bet Big Ron isn't happy.

Glorious weather the last two days. Yesterday was spent doing some house type things, with some friends over for a bbq a night. Was a very nice way to spend the day!

Today we got up and went to the gym. I'd not been in a while as we've been so hectic, so I decided to get my body mass tests done so I knew where I was starting from again. It's all good (I won't bore you with the figures) but I've gained muscle mass and dropped fat mass - which basically means I'm the same weight. The girl doing the tests then seemed to take me as a project, and was very enthusiastic. As a result, next week I embark on a few weeks of intensive gym work to trim up even more in time for my brothers wedding. This girl is a bit mad - one thing she has suggested is cutting out all alcohol for 6 weeks.

Like that's going to happen - my missus is starting on the project - I'll need beer more than ever!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

So, two points to make, albeit briefly (I've a BBQ to man!)

  • FMD strikes again and the whole world is going to melt. Actually, it won't, but some of the dubious sources and information being sent around the news would have you believe it was. Yes, a lot of cattle died last time. Yes, it cost a lot of money. Yes, it could happen again. Let's see what happens before panic sets in. The TV news coverage loves this stuff - it gives them a sense of purpose. Even that idiot they had on BBC this morning.
  • Fernando Alonso - hang your head in shame. For those not up with the story, Alonso was 2nd in the final qualifying with a few minutes to go for the Hungarian Grand Prix. His team mate, who was much quicker all session, is behind him on the track and so when Alonso pits for his final set of tyres, he sits there. This means, Hamilton cannot get new tyres and get back onto the circuit in time to start a final quick lap. Alonso get's pole position, demoting Hamilton to 2nd. Your a cheat, Fernando - beat him on the track if your man enough, but don't resort to Schumacher moves or you'll soon be very unpopular.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Ghost Speaks

What a mad weekend.

Friday was spent with the old man and wee bro in stunning Perthshire. We'd got my Dad a 4x4 thing at Land Rover Experience - it was brilliant. Wee bro and I sat in the back and were amazed that we missed trees (although apparently stumps are a bit more optional...) rocks, deer, rabbits and lots of water. Brilliant, and Dad loved it. The afternoon was spent at Dunkeld & Birnham golf club. Tough little course, wild wind and very hilly but we had a great belated Fathers Day for Dad. That's the downside top living so far away but taking the time to do these things is what family is all about.

As for my mates, well what can I say. Friday was games night, and late, drunken, brilliant - any could describe it. All I'll say to Mr Brown is this - I can beat you at Pro Ev with 8 players :-)

Saturday was karting and after a slightly shaky start by some of the number ("can we stop for a minute? I don't feel well") we embarked on a kart marathon. Sweaty work, but at least it got rid of the booze. I don't wish to dwell on this for fear of embarrassing the others, so all I'll say is I have a large trophy at home now which the missus doesn't approve of.

The evening involved cowboy hats, sand, pint glasses, and lots of bad luck on the stag. That's all I can say :-)

Hateful drive back to London after what was a brilliant weekend, which took the edge of it a bit but got to see the missus when I got home before she was up and out the door by 6 to get a flight to Glasgow. In the past two weeks I've seen her 11 hours. Not really great that, but a new project role will help (perhaps to far the other way, as she'll be working on the same one as me!).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I think I've found my sport - finally managing to win a game in the evening! My nemesis has beaten me ever week on the squash court for weeks, so we had a badminton game last night which appears to have changed my luck. To be fair, the games were pretty close (but then so are our squash matched - Tuesdays game twice went to 12 points) so I'll not gloat yet. Well maybe just a little...

I'm expecting a quiet weekend on here this weekend - Holiday tomorrow involving 4x4 and golf and a retro games night with the boys - 3 Nintendo 64's have been resurrected along with a selection of the finest games of their time - Mario Kart 64, Perfect Dark and Goldeneye. The latter two are simply the best 1st person shooters ever made. Even today they are awesome - the graphics are a bit iffy but then the console is over 10 years old. However the gameplay is superb. Saturday is go-karting day, so I've packed my "I am the Stig" t-shirt in an attempt to scare the opposition in submission. To be honest, I don't think I'll need it ;-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sometimes you just want to let out a yell. I've been using a tool for the first time in ages and you forget how painful it is. Particularly as the tool is a nightmare to work with at times.

Pressing delete on a diagram really means delete when all I want it to do is remove the box from the diagram...And this "feature" has put me back on quite a few occasions.

It reminds me of the editor we used to use called VI which I used on Sun Solaris. It was a nightmare to learn it's features, however once mastered it was a joy to use.
An interesting evening last night as we bid farewell to another project member. I bailed out after dinner and headed back to the hotel on a rescue mission - the smell coming from the boot of my car. I'd played golf after work on Monday and got soaked - I need my clubs this weekend and the bag was stinking. So I've left it to dry in the hotel, it should be fine.

Interesting move by Oracle I read about this morning. The have included an API in their E-Business Suite (which is a chargeable product) for support of Google Maps (which is free). It was bound to happen that someone would do it, it just surprises me that it's Oracle. Actually, it doesn't surprise me that much - Oracle have very little else to shout about and it's a straightforward thing to do, so why not make a song and dance - it'll get the share price up a bit anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There are times in life when you wonder how much C02 is produced to get an end product. Cow's for example, are well known to be one of the highest polluters of C02 of any animals. Completely hypothetically and coincidentally, the mind wanders to the work place - and it's possible to see lot's of hot air and no end product.

At least with a cow you get milk and a decent steak out of it...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Got up yesterday and went for a pre-lunch wander round Richmond Park. It looks amazing at the moment, no doubt helped by the vast amount of rain we've had. It's very green and lush. Saw some of the resident deers as well including one who was enormous!

Back to the flat for some lunch and to watch the Grand Prix. We missed the start as we were in the car, but that meant we could listen to it on the radio - Murray Walker was commentating and was just brilliant. The race itself had everything you could want and it's incredible how much chaos a bit of water makes to an F1 car.

After an afternoon in the shops (bit of a smash and grab run to Kingston to look in John Lewis, buy a shirt, get dinner and look for inspiration for wedding stationary - all of which were successful!) legged it back to watch the end of the golf. Brilliant final day. I went to hot some golf balls at the range and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of Asians at that range - I've never seen any of them on the course, but the range is FULL. Both sexes too, there was one couple were the woman was a much better player than her husband, who I don't think liked that very much!

We're trying to sell our flat at the moment, and that has prompted me to consider the TV input in the new place. We used to have Telewest for a long time, but have lived with Freeview for the last two years and managed just fine, although I miss the football. I would also like to get a digital recorder. So the options are
  1. Sky+
  2. BT Vision
  3. Telewest
  4. Freeview PVR
So Sky would be ideal, but it's expensive and we wouldn't need all the channels. I'd also have a hard time convincing the missus to get a dish on the house. Telewest is an option, some good deals on the packages, so that's a contender. A Freeview PVR might work, especially as you can get Setanta on it next season with Premiership and SPL on it (SPL coverage will include probably 3 Aberdeen games, and even then it'll be against the forces of darkness and just luck that it was us they were playing). BT Vision is an interesting one as they have bought the rights for time delayed coverage of the live Saturday games. Might be the one to go for, as you can get that and Setanta for 12 quid - bargain. I'd still miss out on some of the Champions League matches as the only way to get them is Sky Sports, but I've not missed a game I've wanted to see for two seasons as I've been working away and just gone to the pub.


Oh, and this is genius - Remember - "It's not an iphone, it's a big ass table"

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Glorious morning leading to a rainy looking afternoon.

What weather yesterday. We seemed to get off lightly, surrounding areas seem badly affected. We tried to get over to west London to visit the other halfs Mum who isn't so well at the moment, and abandoned after 20 minutes as we hadn't even got to the end of the road. Nothing was going anywhere fast.

So try again this afternoon, hopefully all will be well.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I was reading last night about this in Evo, and it made me think of a few comparisons.

A journalist was testing the new Audi A5, and commented that it was too nose heavy to be a proper competitor to the BMW 3 series couple as it is not dynamic enough to drive (the BMW is awesome nice to drive - and not just because I own one, but that's one of the reasons I did, not for the badge - if you know my car history it's full of good handling cars. Apart from my first car, a MK3 Ford Escort - awful).

Anyway, here is a picture of the A5:

Now, it looks great, aggressive and purposeful, and moving the wheels forward helps weight distribution. However the end result is that the layout needs to change under the covers, so the diff is between the engine and clutch, which allows the wheels to move forward. The steering rack is then connected to the front wheels by shorter, less flexible steering arms, also helping weight loss and a lower centre of gravity.

Want to know the real reason the wheels are there? Here's a quote:

Dr Horst Glaser, Audi’s dynamics chief, is clearly annoyed. ‘I agree with you,’(in reference to the nose heavy feel) he says, ‘but the marketing people insisted it was this way so the A5 would feel familiar to Audi buyers.’ What about those buyers Audi seeks to steal from BMW, then? ‘I hope we can change it gradually,’ Dr Glaser replies, ruefully.

My first reaction was one of why the marketing people were involved in the design?. But then my second reaction was that it's much like project managers removing key components of an architecture without understanding the implications of the actions. So a simple statement of "move the front wheels" actually means the whole design is compromised, and the Audi designers and engineers are left with a car that does the job, but fails to live up to expectations.

Which leads to my final thought - if you knew you were driving a car that the supplier knowingly made a botch of to make the car (let's say either for financial or ascetic reasons) would you buy another from them???

Driving hell

An uneventful drive yesterday, although it never ceases to amaze me that no matter what time you think you'll miss the traffic on the M25, you never do. It also never ceases to amaze me that one cause of the delays is the M3 junction. Last year (may even have been the year before - my life is a blur ;-) ) they widened the roads to be 4 lanes. At the M3 turn has 5 lanes, with two dedicated to the M3 (one into London, one southbound). It used to see terrible queues in the evening which caused delays to the M25 traffic, so you can understand why they would make it 2 lanes. However, now traffic flows so well down the slip, that people use it to undertake the queues on the M25 and cut back onto the M25 at the front of the two mile queue. The effect is that the people change lanes at the front, allowing people in (though most just pull in without indicating) and this in turn slows the traffic down. Cause and effect. Who'd have thought you can learn physics on the motorways....It's madness!

Slightly more seriously, I read that the driving age might be increased to 18. It can only be a good thing - the amount of young people who have no idea what the result of the actions they take behind the wheel is astonishing. They also suggested that if your 18 you would not be allowed to carry passengers at night. The quote I heard was from one teenager was "what's the point in driving then?" to which I found myself shouting at the radio - that's EXACTLY why the suggestion has been made you idiot.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


There are challenges on the project at the moment, some of which is aimed at us techys. Over dinner last night I discovered the meaning of the phrase "brave or stupid". One of the usual people we eat out with is part of management team and he joined us and was discussing some of the challenges and one of them was that a view was there were too many architects on the project. The rest of the diners on the table? 5 architects and the architects PM.

You can always tell someone thinking on their feet when the voice goes ;-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another weekday in Worcester, another game of squash. Decent game, we both played well but alas I lost. Not entirely sure how I managed to lose though as I was 2-1 games up.

Decent curry last night in my favourite local curry house. The food is always good, although the beer was a bit off last night. The staff recognise us now as well (or at least, pretend to - there are some of our number who are more memorable than others!)

Challenging days on the project, I seem to be jinxed when it comes to my projects here! Still, it was fun while it lasted! Looks as though I'm going to be working on supporting documentation which, while necessary and interesting in it's own right, is never as fun as solution design as it offers a different challenge. Not one to complain though - I continue to get to work with a great bunch of people on a really interesting project and continue to learn new skills - that is what it's all about for me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Will it blend?

Ah, the joys of doing something stupid to sell a product. "Will it blend?" has to be a marketing genius idea. It works like this - company has a blender to sell. You Tube is full of people blending/chopping/generally doing things your not supposed to. Get a good presenter with a slight air of the scientific and off you go! Next, what to blend? Well, veg etc is all well and good, but why not up the ante with an iPhone?


It's right up there with the mentos domino rally for stupid things.

Actually, the stupisest thing on the net is the person counting to a million. What's worse is that he works in IT. It's people like him who give the rest of us a bad name! (he says, writing on a blog, on a mobile phone, via wifi...)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


The world has gone PC mad.

A few years ago the DVLA changed the car registration plate format. The idea was that the first two letters would signify the location the car was bought, the next two the year.

The DVLA in Edinburgh have recently changed it so that instead of SN the Edinburgh office issues TN prefix. The reason? Some people may be offended at having SN07 in the car, which could be seen as "snot". Really? Who cares! I mean, it's a registration plate. It doesn't matter.

Link to the article

I say this in a slightly contratdictory manner as my car (finally) got it's personalised registraion plate fitted this morning :-) However, if I had bought a car and it had SN07, I wouldn't have cared a bit.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Apologies for lack of activity, work and social life is mad just now!

It strikes me that there is a lot of money in certain football clubs. Some are buying well, some less so. United have bought an incredible display of talent, and if they get Tevez then up front they'll have the incredible hulk and shrek - quite a combination! Arsenal are doing the usual of buying young players nobody has heard of, but I feel the top 4 finish they enjoy is under threat - it's not enough. Chelsea are fattening the squad (and I'm not just talking about Lampard) so they will be there or thereabouts. Liverpool are dark horses - Torres will make a huge difference to them, and they have a good squad with depth in positions. Still missing a 2nd keeper though. Spurs are an option for the 4th champions league spot though.

The drop - West Ham have a load of cash and an odd chairman, but they are not buying players that I think will help them stay up. Sunderland have bought few players but need to spend a load more or they will be going down again. I also fear for Derby.

So there we go, a mid-close season shopping list viewpoint. Roll on the new season, but if you want to see some class, check out this gem from Messi in the Copa America. Just wish he played in the Premiership...
Messi Goal!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Van Gogh

received this vai email - usual caveats to the author.

Van Gogh family tree -

His dizzy aunt-----------------------Verti Gogh

The brother who ate prunes-----------Gotta Gogh

The brother who worked at a convenience store----Stop an Gogh

The grandfather from Yugoslavia-------U Gogh

The cousin from Illinois------------- Chica Gogh

His magician uncle--------------Where-diddy Gogh

His Mexican cousin------------------- A mee Gogh

The Mexican cousin's American half-brother----Ring Gogh

The nephew who drove a stage coach - Wells-far Gogh

The constipated uncle----------------- Cant Gogh

The ballroom dancing aunt------------- Tang Gogh

The bird lover uncle----------------Flaming Gogh

His nephew psychoanalyst---------------- E Gogh

The fruit loving cousin-----------------Man Gogh

An aunt who taught positive thinking----- Way-to Gogh

The little bouncy nephew--------------- Poe Gogh

A sister who loved disco--------------- Go Gogh

And his niece who traveled the country in a van - Winnie Bay Gogh


There has been a lot of positive and negative press about the Apple iPhone. From the evidence in the US, there is a market with 500,000 sold in the first weekend. So people want it, but why?

Functionally, it doesn't break any moulds. There are phones which make calls, take photos, can play music and sync your diary too. There are also touch screen phones, although these have not exactly set the world alight as they are typically difficult to use or are on basic phones so they phone has a reasonable purchase price.

Design wise, it's stunning, as you would expect from Apple. Other maunfacturers have made decent looking phones (the Motorolla Pebl springs to mind) but no mainstream company has made anything like this before. You get the high end stuff that sells in low numbers but with high sale prices (over £1000), but Apple are marketing the phone as a high end design phone with ipod looks and functionality, for about £300. Nothing comes close to that - not many people really buy phones anymore as it's all in the contracts, and most people have an ipod (or a few!).

So why and who? Well, the why is that Apple can use the mobile network to have a mobile edition of iTunes, which is a massive revenue generator for Apple. The people who buy the iPhone will likely be heavy iTunes users, so it's a new market for them. The mobile companies are happy as they get the carrier revenue while the tracks download, and again a new market that Sony have tried to tap into but hasn't really succeded. Who? Well existing heavy iPod users will lap it up.

Then there is how it works. Simply, it's an amazingly good piece of software. It does everything a Windows Smartphone does, but simpler, better, and faster. Apple got it right, they didn't try and break any moulds, they just had to do it with the right design and the right level of functionality that users were going to go for.

Do I want one? Yes. Will I buy one? Not at 300 quid plus a heavy contract price. Do I need one? No - I have a phone and an iPod. So I'll stick with that thank you very much :-)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hectic weekend, but very enjoyable. Catching up with mates and family is always good fun.

So some people drove a jeep into the airport in Glasgow. It got me thinking - had these people never done a reccy before? Surely you'd realise the only thing that will fit through airport doors is a Smart car? I can't get through it with my luggage, so a big jeep has no chance!

I dropped my other half at the airport this morning (on her way to Glasgow!) and there is a huge police prescence. But the rest of the airport was deserted - hardly any traffic on the drive to and around the airport. Riot vans, police dogs, armed police, all looking menacing but not actually searching anyone.

If a large police prescence is all that it takes to sort out the traffic at Heathrow, long may the police stay there!

Friday, June 29, 2007

I think the phrase is f***ing fuming.

I've been waiting 4 weeks now for the paperwork for the transfer of my registration plate onto my new car. This has enabled me to get a nice little (though expanding) snagging list going. However, as the paperwork had not turned up, I phoned the DVLA - they've not recieved the paperwork. This is (amazingly) not a DVLA fault - it's the dealer.

Now, this means that I can't put my plate onto my car. It also means my car parking permit is in the old plate. I can't update my permit, and they are now refusing to extend my temp cover note, which in turn means very soon I'll be using my visitor permits to park my own bloody car outside my own house.

The dealer is going to get a roasting. I'm not in a good mood.


BMW have released a lot of new cars in the last few years, all of which the design has been Chris Bangle influenced. For those who don't know who he is, he's a car designer who was responsible for the Fiat Coupe, a slashy masterpiece in it's day.

Now, some people hate what he has done to BMW, some love it. I think he's made some initially very challenging cars to love at first, however as time passes they seem to grow into what are very "of it's time" design. The best example would the 5 series - when it came out nobody liked it. But now, it looks right. Same with the 7 series as when it came out it was pigging ugly (it was also the first Bangle BMW) with it's huge rear end platform - a design that has continued now with the latest 3 series, although it's not so pronounced.

The 1 series BMW has always been challenged in the looks department. It's too small to do a full Bangle on it, the front end works, the back end is too abrupt, the middle looks ungainly. BMW have released a 3 door version of the 1 series, which is the most pointless thing in the world as it's got no rear seats anyway and has just made it more impractical. However, they have gone one better (or worse?) with this - the new 1 series coupe:

Seriously - how ugly is that!!! I've no idea who the terget market is for this either. They've upped the power, so there are (finally) some seriously hot versions but they will sell in low numbers as for the same money as a hot 1 coupe, you can get a low end 3 series coupe, which actually looks much nicer. The 1 looks too high, too long, and the boot looks like an afterthought, which it is as the car was never designed to be a coupe.

Pig ugly.

Bangle - must do better.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two games of squash in two days and I feel much better about this daft sport. I'm really enjoying it just now, mainly as I'm playing ok, apart from the serve!.

Off to Wimbledon tonight for the first time in 10 days, can't wait to get into my own bed. WIth the impending bad weather, I'd rather get off sooner rather than later, but with a conference call in the afternoon it may not happen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


So the new IBM BlueGene/P has been proved to run at 3 Petaflops, or 3 Quadrillion operations a second (although in real life situations, it's designed to run at 1 petaflop). Now that is a lot. Some of the numbers are mind blowing.

4 - the number of PowerPC cores in each chip running at 850MHz each.
32 - a 2x2 foot circuit board can contain this number of chips
435 billion - the number of operations a single board can handle a second
32 (again) - the number of these boards that fit into a 6 foot rack
72 - the number of these racks required to hit a single petaflop
216 - the number of racks to hit 3 petaflops (which is 884,736 processors)

Big numbers. However, the image in my head of how large it is this:

If you stacked up a pile of Thinkpads to give you same power, you'd end up with a pile of 1.5 miles high.

Like I said - big numbers.
A long, but fairly uneventful drive down from Glasgow to Worcester last night. I expected the roads to be horrible however, bar a lot of spray, they were fine. It helped I left it a bit later so there was less traffic.

The date has now been set for my stag do, early March next year which means March and April will be as mad as May and June has been this year. Ah well, at least I can get some chill out when I'm on honeymoon :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2007


2 nights of Dublin life with some very good friends has left me with a warm glow. And also very tired!

One of the problems I have at times with my job is that to actually have a home life I've moved to the south (as well as my others half family being there, but regardless if she had been there or not I would have moved down) so the chance to catch up with friends is not one I can turn down. We had a riot, lots of fun, lots of Guiness, lots of laughes. Had dinner on Saturday in a place called FXB in Pembroke Street - I had one of the best steaks I've ever eaten in there on Saturday and it comes recommended.

I certainly enjoyed Dublin again, it's the 3rd time I've been and every time I've had a good time. I'd certainly recommend it!

So we arrive in Edinburgh and have a quick look about yesterday, went to see the new Parliament building as I've not been there yet. I also went past my old flat and had a nose from 4 floors down - the same curtains are up in the flat when I had it! And they were there when I bought it (albeit just newly put in) - that was 1999!!! A quick drive over the Glasgow were my other is working and we are staying in a stunning hotel, wonderful dinner last night and I slept like a log last night. Much needed snooze!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Troll alert...suddenly trolls (I use the phrase to describe a much wider group than a collegue) are very interested in work I've got to and demand people jump and that work happens immediatly for what they know. Now, hypothetically of course, if you were planning a project, and had defined some dependencies (at length) you might have spoken to the people who's work your relying on the let them know...

In other news, I'm buggering off for the weekend to Dublin to have a good time with some old mates, some of whom I've not seen in a very long time. Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Planes and Wii

I see a lot of people have got upset at violent video games again. Now, there are specifics in this case which I won't touch on, but it brings an interesting topic - do video games make you violent?

In a word, no - but with a caveat. If your already of the mind that you want to use violence against someone, playing violent games and watching violent films will let you live out the fantasy. However, there have always been a few people who would go ahead and do it in real life, regardless of what they have watched and read. It's a sympton of the society we live in, it's not the cause. Video games and films may have made it more accessible though.

The main issue people are having is with this game as it's on the Wii and (for those who don't know) you use the controller wirelessly and it let's you wave it around or whatever the game requires. So, if your ten pin bowling you make that movement and it works out if you bowled it straight etc. Some people don't like the fact that in this new game you use the controller in a stabbing motion, and I can understand that. But will they ban Star Wars as every 30 year old relives his light saber dreams???

The other thing that caught my eye was that someone has ordered a superjumbo for personal use. It's a 300 million dollar plane!!! Unbelievable. It sounds like it's been done by someone very wealthy in the Middle East (the company wouldn't comment, only to say it wasn't the US or Europe, which narrows it down a lot...). My favourite quote though was from the environmental lobby who said it was like "buying a filthy coal-fired power station just to use to charge up your mobile phone."

Now there's an idea....

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hamilton wins another GP. The boy is not normal. I mean, he is 22 years old, and driving like nobody else I've seen, lap after lap. He's more mechanical than Schumi was, although he has a lot more personality. However, for me there are more interesting characters in F1. David Coulthard for example. Quick driver, knows how to setup a car and is a fair racer. You just wonder though that if he hadn't spent so much time chasing women how much further he could have gone. He was in a championship winning car at McLaren alongside Hakinnen, and then alongside Kimi, although he never won the cahmpionship he was always challenging and could have won had he been more consistent.

Then you have Ralf. Ralf is Michael Schumachers brother. I wouldn't trust Ralf to drive me to the airport, never mind with a multi-million pound race car. The boy is utter crap, and blagged his way thoughout his carear on his brothers tails. At the start of this season he proclaimed " I'm one of the best drivers in F1, I can win the world championship". Oh yeah? 7 races in and 2 points says you can't... Your teammate is 5 points ahead of you, so it's hardly the car now is it. He causes accidents and blames everyone but himself - at the weekend he locked up his brakes and crashed into DC, and he blamed DC for being in his way. Pillock.

I love racers, people who can properly drive. Go to YouTube and search for Rene Arnoux and Villeneuve and you'll see what I mean!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I've never understood motorbike racing. Particularly on the TT course. Here, a bunch of amateur racers, dress up like superheros in day glow orange, green and yellow leather suits, strap on a gimp mask, and climb onto a throbbing machine capable of doing 200 mph. They are all nutters. The fact that it's done on closed public roads through all the country villages, which means that the run off area will consist of a house, or perhaps a very large tree, means that any accident will result in instant death. Or at least a very sore head.

What makes it worse, is the people who go and watch it on the "race replica" bikes. These people, who could be your banker, or even the local vicar, still dress up the same gimp costume, and have a machine that is not a million miles slower. However while you look stupid riding it, you look even worse when you stop and remove the helmet. You can't walk in bike boots (much like ski boots, you have to walk like the Honda AIBO robot) so you look even more silly. You may think you look cool, but really you look as comfortable as Jade Goody in an Indian restaurant.

In saying all that, I have respect for people who push themselves like that. Instant death is a mere pothole away, which would mean going to hospital while wearing a gimp costume?. Now THAT'S balls.

Friday, June 15, 2007

going underground...

Sometimes, the feats on this planet astound me. They have just opened a new tunnel through the alps. At 21 miles long, it's the longest tunnel above ground in the world, and the 3rd longest ever. That's amazing. 21 miles is a very long way! They did it in 8 years, and I applaud them.


There have been some amazing feats in recent years of engineering. The bridge at Millau is just stunning. We were in France before it opened, but it was all but finished and the sheer size takes your breath away.


Just goes to show what happens when you get the best in the field together to complete a joint aim.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A good night last night, attended a University wine tasting at Malmaison in London.

What was brilliant was the guy who ran it - his job title is "Director of wine and Spirits", surely a job I could do? However, even better was his name - Jonny Walker!

New levels of despair today. Checked with my manager that we were still on for a quarterly review. She replied that yes, so long as the travel wasn't the only reason I was going there as there were still restrictions on meeting travel for internal meetings. Now, this is my manager, the person supposedly responsible for my career, who is restricted from travelling to meet her own staff - surely it's not just me that finds that very bizarre?????

Bean counters and processes, hold you back and get in the way.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Every now and again, you come across a wonderful piece of software. This is something else - if you store photos on the net and into mapping (GF) this is for you!

Two elements to it, the second half is unbelievable.

(I won't tell you who makes it for fear of prejudice! Interesting where the source photos are though). This to me is what was promised in Vista, but not delivered.

You can try it here:


Interesting couple of days focussing on scanning software. Very in depth but very powerful software and has got the brain juices flowing again.

Seems to be a bit of the usual press mis-reporting going on about Alonso and Hamilton. For example, it's all o ver the press that he thinks Hamilton was "lucky" to win on Sunday and the press are taking it as a pop at boy wonder. However, the full sentance reads:

"Lewis's win is good for the team. But it was very lucky as well as we were on similar strategies and if the safety car came out one lap before Lewis's stop we would have been eighth or ninth."

That is a valid point. Had Alonso been leading he would have pitted first (as is the leaders right) and he would have won and Hamilton much lower.

As they say, don't believe a word of truth the press say...

Monday, June 11, 2007


Another busy but most enjoyable weekend.

Spent the weekend with some friends in Yorkshire. They stay in an idyllic little village, north of York with views out onto open countryside. Cracking little place.

Saturday we all went to Whitby, the boys playing golf and the girls shopping. The golf was good fun, this being the first time I've been able to try out my new driver. It was immense. Every drive straight (bar one where I got over excited and tried to hit it too hard over some trees) and long. Very long! Had to play across a couple of ravines which was interesting, but easy with the monster club in the bag. A good round let down though by some lost balls. Not that I played bad shots to lose the balls I would add! I hit one at a house when i got the length wrong (very badly wrong...), one went into some mild rough never to be seen again and it's those that really annoy you. Ruined the overall score, but if I take the lost balls out of it it was a great round. Something to work on, you can't expect to pick it up from where you left off when you've not played in weeks.

Went to a great local pub called the Rose And Crown on the Saturday night. Brilliant food, would love to have somewhere like that on my doorstep.

Nice drive back in the new car, it really does make for easier motorway driving having the bigger engine. It's just got that bit more torque so it's a lazier drive. Just what I need!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's hectic as anything, apologies!

Been listening to the Beatles a lot of late, before all the 40th anniversary of Sgt Pepper. It's really nice to go back to albums you've loved for years, but haven't heard in ages.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Well, the car has been delivered to me. And it's great :-)

I'm really annoyed at the Olympics in London today. What on earth is that shambles of a logo? Looks cheap, nasty, and has all the signs of a 40 year old bloke trying to be "down with the kids". Who then got very patronising on the radio about it all.

Get a grip.

Kids don't go the sports centre for other reasons other than it's not cool. They don't go because a PS3 or a Wii is fun, and some of the sports I did at school were definitely not fun. Nothing beats a of Daley Thompson Decathlon in the old Commodore 64, and I put the vreal track and field in that (mainly as I sucked at it).

Sports these days is all about skateboards and moutain biking - they've been made cool by people like Tony Hawks. Badminton isn't cool. That's why the nearest kids get to sports centres now is doing tricks in the car park.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Yesterday I met up with some people the Missus used to work with in Limehouse (it's in East London. No, I didn't know that either.) Anyway, as we walked down the road the italian was on, I see a pub called the Narrow. Now, I've never been anywhere near this area in my life, but I know about the Narrow as it's just recently opened, and is owned by a Mr G Ramsey. So, kicking myself that the missues friends hadn't booked us there, I went to the italian and gazed out the window wondering what the food is like.

After lunch, we went up to the Narrow. It's on a bend and as it was a glorious day, we stood outside with beer in hand. It's not badly priced, (75p cheaper for a pint of Peroni than I'd paid in Wimbledon the week earlier no less), and the food is slightly more than you'd pay in a pub, but no more than you would in a gastro pub. It's quite hard to gauge all the food prices as I've never seen calves cheek on the menu in the local boozer. The place is in a brilliant setting on the river, and will do well there. A return visit is in order on a sunny weekend soon.

A walk through back to Bank station (yes, we took the DLR back to Tower and not Bank...) meant a very pleasant wander through the city when there is nobody about. The architecture there is amazing and with it being quiet, we could appreciate it all the more.

Today has seen us prove a pub discussion from yesterday wrong. The missus reckoned that a bike ride from Wimbledon, to Richmond park, a complete circuit of it and back, would take all day. Pah! Knocked that out in 2 hours dead overall time, which included a stop for an ice cream :-) A mere 16 miles or so in total, and was great to see the deer out in force again. This afternoon has been quiet with trips to the supermarket and garden centre. The missus has spent most of it pottering about in the garden while I watched the touring cars race live (well, the bit I was awake for...) and then a spot of tiling to finish off a DIY job. Needless to say, I pooped :-)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Not a happy bunny.

All the paperwork had been done, collection of the new car arranged. So I drive there, do all the paperwork, and then the dealer realises the finance company transfer of funds hasn't completed - this means I can't take the car away.

It turns out the finance company had said they would do an overnight transfer and actually did a BACS 3 day transfer. As the money had been sent on Wednesday, it won't hit the account till Monday sometime. The dealer was very apologetic (as he should be) and I'm expecting a boot full of goodies to make up for it. He did offer me a brand new 3 series coupe for the weekend, but my parking is all done with permits this was just going to be a hassle. Hopefully I'll get the new one on Monday. Will be VERY annoyed if I don't.

Anyway, to cheer me up, I came across this, the powertool drag race. Now this sounds like a recipe for disaster - people make drag racers out of power tools, blades and all. It made me think about a collegue, but no matter how much I looked at the photos, I couldn't see the GorseFox's entry!

My favourite is the funny car made out of 8 chainsaws...


Friday, June 01, 2007

I see the Gorse Fox has a great journey home last night. Wish I had...Leaving a bit later than normal, I seemed to hit every pocket of traffic going. M5, M40, M25 (although it was much better than normal as I got there much later than normal).

Makes you wonder why you do it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The new car doesn't currently have a CD autochanger in the boot (although the wiring is all there so it's easy to do). I'm active on a couple of mini and bmw forums (Mini for historical reasons as I used to have a couple) and asked what the options were for ipod integration. One solution that has come back is quite interesting and I can't decide it's madness or a good solution.

There is an Alpine interface that connects into the standard BMW head unit for use with Alpine extras (such as their own CD changer, DAB radio etc) but it also has an interface for an ipod. However, to use the ipod properly you need an Alpine head unit, which I don't have. So this company have made an interface box that connects between the Alpine interface and your ipod and let's you control the ipod via the head unit and also have a CD changer in the boot (which also has support for MP3 CDs with ID3 tags shown as well).

It's neat, and relatively cheap, however it's all a bit beta tester for my liking as it's not been officially released. Still, there is demand for the parts so if I buy it and don't like it, I can always sell it, and still use the MP3 changer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Busy weekend so I apologise for lack of action!

Wembley was brilliant on Saturday, although the place feels very clinical. It lacked that special feeling I got when I went to other similar places for the first time, other big stadiums such as Murrayfield, Old Trafford, the Nou Camp. Even Schalke's ground had that feeling and it's a fair bit smaller (61,000). Maybe it'll get it after a few big games, but the noise inside was immense and the view was brilliant. Easy to get to and from, but it just didn't have that something special for me.

We've also seen two wedding photographers this weekend, one of whom is a hot favourite. One more to go, but will see if we actually go with her or if we want to see a few more.

We also introduced my parents to the joy of Buzz on the playstation - it's very amusing in groups like that!

Shame the weather was so blooming awful all weekend, and typically it's glorious sunshine today in Worcester (and London earlier).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mental day yesterday with work, but all settled down nicely by the time I headed home.

The parents have arrived for the weekend, so had fun last night with them sitting in the garden and having dinner. Packed them off to bed early (well, they had been up since 4 to get on the red eye from Aberdeen) so they are fully refreshed today!

The boys (my Dad, myself and two fellow Aberdonians, 1 who lives in London and one who's visiting) are all off to Wembley today to watch the playoffs. We are all football fans and watch it where we can when we are together (that did include an under 15's school match once - yes we are that sad) and the opportunity to go to Wembley was too much. Can't wait.

Tomorrow see's another busy day in Oxfordshire. Meeting a potential photograpgher and then on to the wedding venue to see it finally finished! They are hosting a party tonight to celebrate Laurence Oliver 100th birthday, so it will be a star studded event apparently, which officially opens the place since it's been re-done. All very exciting.

Oh, and new car looks like it's on the way...if all things work out and I like it, should get it at the end of next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I have an interest in animals these days, with cows rapidly becoming a speciality. However this story I liked - Dairy cows in Spain get water beds, air con and Mozart to improve yield. LINK

Now, onto more important matters - what happened last night to Liverpool? They could easily have won it, with Stevie G fluffing a shot he should have buried. They lost an unlucky goal just before half time, which improved my level of regard for Inzaghi - I think he's one of the most over-rated strikers in top level football.

Overall, they did well to get there, should have won but where unlucky. Maserchano should have been left on the park though as I don't think they would have scored the second with him to break it up.

Always next season...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I know it's the way it works, but I wish politicians would realise how stupid they sound sometimes.

The issue of HIPS seems to have come to a head, and good riddance for the moment. As I see it, there are a number of issues:

1 - there is EU legislation that says all the member states need to be able to show emisions on housing by 2009

2 - the government took bad advice on what else could be wrapped into the HIPS by people who were actually going to make money out of it (nothing new there...)

3 - mis-information supplied/spoken by government ministers on the numbers of people qualified.

I can see a benefit to them, but only if they provide something useful. An energy rating on a new house is useful. But if I'm looking at buying a victorian terrace, I know it's going to have rubbish loft insulation, no cavity walls and probably a fairly old boiler. So what's the point?

What has also annoyed me is David Camerons response. "How can you support green issues when you don't support this". Make your mind up man, a week ago you didn't want them. Stop bleating, get some policies and a position - people are looking for alternatives. Had an election come immediatly after your appointment, you'd have got in. But people want action, and your just letting off steam just now. Goodwill doesn't last forever.
Gorgeous day in Worcester, stunning sunshine. Makes a change from the recent spell of wet and windy weather.

Last night we all met up at the Cardinals Hat, followed by a great (but SO SLOW) meal at Amigos. The food there is great but just takes so long to come. They actually turned a couple away - there were only 12 people in the place and it seats about 70!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Come on you reds!

Ah, sweet feeling of success :-) Aberdeen win to finish third in the SPL, and with it comes European Football next season. Happy day yesterday, especially as to do it we beat Rangers who, to be fair, had it coming as we'd not taken any points from the forces of darkness all season, and it would have been the first time since the 70's we'd gone a year without taking any points off them.

So, just need Celtic to win the cup and we go into the first round proper of the UEFA cup - if Dunfermline fluke it, then we go to the qualifiers and they go to the 1st round. Seems a stupid way of doing it, as they were relegated this year, but what can you do. The SPL really should make it 3rd and 4th get the UEFA spot as last year it was Gretna in the UEFA cup and they were also in division 1. It's 21 years since Aberdeen got past the 2nd round in the cup (got close in the early 90's - Rico's 35 yard thunderbolt in 92 (?) nearly put us through.

So, all in all, good day, an optimism for next season what with the signing of Macnamara.

Also, did you know, Aberdeen has one of the most "1st"s in football? 1st team in the UK to have an all seater, all covered stadium? 1st team to have dug outs in the UK? 1st team to lose on penalties in a European competition? 1st team to win 2 European trophies in Scotland? I could go on :-)

Stand Free, Wherever you may be, We are the famous Aberdeen!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Traffic problems

Having spent a year complaining about my 3Com router, I think it needs a slight apology. The problem I have with it is that occasionally (and always when I'm in a hurry) my wireless router gives me an IP, but refuses to connect to the Internet. After rebooting it a few times it springs into life, but sometimes it just takes a while. On closer inspection, it gets a connection with the ISP, has an IP, all is well. But I can't get out and use it.

Friday morning saw this occur. I decided to investigate it further. Turns out about 4 layers into the config, hidden very well in a menu you'd never find, there is a setting which determines how the connection is initiated. It was set (by default I would add!) to be "only on traffic", and not "always on". I changed the setting to be always on, it immediately sprang to life. So hopefully, that's one of life's little challenges resolved, but why would you ever want your ADSL line to connect only on traffic? Especially when the router doesn't work when it gets traffic. Answers on a postcard...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Late night music

Late night last night, trying to fix a wireless issue. Now resolved, but meant leaving the office about 3 hours later than I would normally to get back to London. On the plus side, the drive home was bliss with no traffic on the M25 at all, so did it in record time: and no, I wasn't speeding officer! I had cruise set the whole time. Bit of chilled out music on the stereo (Zero 7 and then some Beth Orton) and all was good in the world.

I actually changed the CD's in the autochanger yesterday for the first time in ages. Zero 7 is a great CD to have in the car on evening/late night drives where you just pass the miles by on the motorway and I forgot just how good it was. It got me thinking about bands I'd seen live with my other half as we'd seen Zero 7 and loved it. I've been to more gigs in the last few years in London than ever, in fact I'd only been to about 5 before that (although, that included REM at Murrayfield, Oasis at the same place and U2 at Celtic Park which was just brilliant). It also included Neil Finn, who is one of my favourite musicians who I've seen a couple of times now as well. We've had to cut down on gig going at the moment as all the money we would normally spend on gigs is going into the wedding fund, but one we had to get is Beth Orton with Bert Jansch and Bernard Butler at Somerset House. It's going to be such a summer highlight for me. Can't wait.