Month: September 2006

Minor randomness

If you are squeamish when it comes to the whole “burning metal” “eye” “doctor” “clamps” type thing (the “eye” bit especially) then do NOT go and read Alan’s latest posts. Well do, obviously, cos they are well writ. But I’ll fully admit that I can’t read the last two paragraphs of part three of his story. Physically can’t do it.. ick ick ick.

Why do the fingernails of one hand get dirtier than the other?

If the store is not open, why let us walk in through the front doors, descending the escalators and, amidst the staff stocking the shelves, let us start filling our shopping baskets? There were around 5 or 6 other customers wandering around the food court in M&S this morning, and only after five minutes or so did one of the members of staff deign to tell us that, actually, sorry, but the store isn’t open yet. So I went three doors down and got my stuff in Tescos.

Having bought several t-shirts online, why can’t I find similar stores that sell shirts? Smart, casual shirts for everyday wearing is what I’m after. A bit bored of polo shirts. Cost, originality, and longevity are king. Loud patterns and ‘hot fashion’ are out.

Upcoming posts on this blog:

  • The reconstruction of self prompted by Hg
  • Why I’m not buying a Mac (boy, that’ll be a fun one)
  • Commenting, what’s all the fuss?

Which camera should I buy, a Canon G7 or something else??

Sometimes when I’m settling down to work, I struggle to pick the “right” music. Why is this?

I have a blog design to complete, it’s taken me flippin ages, far far longer than intended but no matter how many times I visited it I got stuck. Lesson: make sure I’M fully happy with what is expected, and that the client provides firm ideas of what they want. Or I end up just designing things that *I* like. Speaking of which, I have a new design for this site waiting in the wings, just need to find some time to switch it over. One man designs is slowly moving forward… ohh that reminds me, need to update THAT site too…

Current fashion: Those knee-high white boots all the girlies are wearing, what is THAT all about? Who started that and does everyone realise who ghastly it looks? (says the high doyen of fashion here…)

And finally, www.mclean.co.uk is STILL being sat on and all attempts to email the person sitting on it have failed. A letter is being sent to the WHOIS registered address. This is really bugging me now. I WANT THAT DOMAIN!

My old man

A brief post to wish my father a Happy 60th Birthday.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!

We are out for a family dinner tonight, then a wee celebration tomorrow afternoon. Posting largely depends on inclination and quantities of Southern Comfort (which my sister said she’d buy! Hope you remembered Jen!).

PC questions

As in “Personal Computer” not “politically correct”. I really couldn’t give a stuff about the latter.

1. I currently run Windows XP Professional on my home computer. If I purchase a new (replacement) computer, can I use the license from this machine on the new one? Or do I have to pay for the upgrade from XP Home?

2. AMD vs Intel. Is either “better”? Or are they much of a muchness?

3. AMD vs AMD Live… again, will it make that much difference to me?

4. Widescreen monitor or not?

Ohh and I should point out that I’m not buying the thing just yet but beginning to look. It’ll likely be a DELL again as the current one has given me ZERO hassles, it’s just getting old, and noisy.

This post may, or may not, be related to the fact that my birthday is coming up…

What?

Ohh well I wasn’t fishing.. honest.. but, if you insist, of course you can buy me something.

Why RSS doesn't quite work

Catching up with my blog reading, I stumbled across a post by Dana Hanna, who is currently creating “An App a Day“, in which he says the following:

I have two types of feeds I’d like to subscribe to. I’ll call them hot feeds and cold feeds.

Cold feeds are … things that I want to read even 3 days after they were published. I’d like them to behave like an e-mail inbox. Stay there until I read you.

Hot feeds … are like stock prices. I want them now while they are hot, but never again … Things that I care about when they are new, but don’t want to be bothered by ALL of them … I don’t want to have to sort through them like an inbox.

Note: I can’t get his permalinks to work, so if you visit his site, head for the September 19th entry.

And I almost completely agree with this approach.

To use his terms, the cold feed example is perfect. I want my RSS reader to grab the latest content and store it until I decide what to do with it, exactly like an email inbox. Then I can choose to ignore, read or delete as I want.

So, given that I was away from the PC for a few days, I could come back, skim through the subject lines and decided quickly whether to read or discard the items listed (usually a mass delete, quickest way to catchup!).

However I think the hot feeds idea is where the real value lies. If my RSS reader knows that, for example, I only want to EVER store the most recent 10, or 20, items from a certain feed, it can automatically discard the rest after a given time period. I’m still not a prolific RSS user but I wager that the vast majority of my feeds are “hot”.

I don’t care if I don’t read them all, I don’t want to have to bother with items that are older than a few days or even hours, so just delete them for me. BBC News from last week? Why would I want to read that? Why SHOULD I have to make a decision and do all the leg work of deleting the items as I currently have to in many RSS readers.

And yes, I consider “Mark all as read” as a kludge. That doesn’t help me, as I still have to take some action and without it I have folders full of starred or bolded items, waiting, needing, urging me to read them. I don’t want to fire up my RSS Reader, wait while it grabs all the latest items and then stare in disbelief when it reports that I have “4379 Unread Items”. That’s just not on, and there is no reason for it to happen. The machines don’t rule us. Yet.

Hmmm, there is an entire post in that second last sentence but I digress.

So, find me an RSS reader that handles these “hot feeds” in a sensible, unobstrusive way and I might, finally, be converted. Of course, there is probably one out there already, so let me add a few caveats:

1. It MUST MUST MUST be one-click to add a new feed.
None of this “File > New Feed”, enter URL, click OK, wait… click OK again, nonsense (and, as an aside, why DOES the File menu still exist in so many places, I don’t deal with “Files” in my browser!)

2. It must be unobtrusive, I don’t want pop messages each and everytime a new item is found, or at the very least it must BY DEFAULT not offer notification messages.

3. It must work well with Firefox. I’m not bothered about it being an extension, but it must play nice with Firefox or the deal is off.

4. It must be easy and quick to get to the site I’m reading as, for most of my usage, I will want to interact with the site in some way, be it to leave a comment, or persue other parts of the site itself.

5. It must be free. Why? Because I already HAVE a free RSS reader (Sage) and there are many other free options. The “hot feeds” functionality isn’t THAT much of a competition killer, yet I’ve still not seen it implemented well.

I’m finding fewer and fewer barriers, and I’m pretty sure that my RSS usage will continue to rise but I fear that, until they are much easier to setup (it’s such a pain having to manually locate the feeds!) and much MUCH easier to maintain they will remain beyond the boundary that I have pegged out.

This site is called informationally overloaded for a reason, and until RSS readers start to include better house-keeping they will continue to fall short.

Addendum
Still not sure what RSS is? Think of it as “Ready for Some Stories“.
And, as I said, there are many RSS readers, or “News Aggregators” (LONG list!) out there but I sure as hell ain’t trying them all.

Like, DUH

I visited a small branch of a well known high street shoe repairer this lunchtime — starts with a T, ends in “impson” — and have to admit that they employ people of such high calibre that the mind boggles.

As I approached the door I could see a small handwritten sign stuck on the inside. It stated “Gone to Post Office, back in a few minutes”. Looking past the sign I could clearly see the man behind the counter, and the two customers waiting to be served.

I walked in.

After serving the two guys in front of me, and whilst I waited for my “only take a minute I guess” job to be done, another two customers, like me, ignored the sign and formed a queue.

The guy behind the counter looked up, sighed quietly and took off his jacket.

“Guess you won’t be getting to the Post Office then…” I said lightly, in attempt at mild humour.

“Well it is our busiest time” he replied.

Lost for words, I nodded. It was either that or blurt out the sarcastic thought in my head.. “YA THINK?!!”.

Sheesh.

Winter cometh

All of a sudden, although it may have happened in the last week, the temperature seems to have dropped and winter is edging closer. The realisation that my winter wardrobe isn’t complete hit home this morning as I went to choose a jacket to wear to work.

That makes it sound like I’ve a lot of jackets. I don’t. I’m not my father (kidding Dad!).

I have five “jackets”. One is a goretex waterproof job which is only for rainy days and hillwalking. One is a cold snowy day type jacket that is long, thick and padded and barely showerproof, one is essentially a summer jacket, smartish, dark blue and thin, one is a red showerproof fleece, and the other is my moleskin jacket.

Now, the red showerproof fleece is ‘handy’ but, bearing in mind it’s a few years old, it’s not really my style anymore. The goretex wasn’t required, not raining, the ‘winter coat’ wasn’t required as it’s not THAT cold, the summer jacket wasn’t required because it is colder than it has been and the moleskin wasn’t required because it doesn’t really go with t-shirt and jeans.

So I need a new jacket. And boots, must have boots for the winter.

I’m tempted to buy online this year, especially the boots (I’ve worn Wrangler boots for the past … ten years?) but have to admit I’m a little fussy when it comes to clothes so it’s highly unlikely.

I don’t mind shopping online for books and CDs and… well, things that you can predict, things that you know will come in a certain package or a certain size. But clothes? What if the material is wrong, what if the cuffs are too tight or too long, what if the pockets aren’t positioned properly, what if it’s just a little too short, what if it’s just a little too long? What if the collar doesn’t sit right? What if the inside pockets aren’t in the right position, or what if there are no inside pockets? What if …

Oh you get the picture. I’m a fussy bugger me.

And yes, bugger all happened on the train this morning, so this is all you get.

Uneventful

Yes, still sniffling, but the worst has passed. In some ways this cold/man-flu has been a pain in the ass, in other ways it’s been helpful.

Ohhh who am I kidding… I was going to say that it’s helped me realise how much I’ve been enjoying my jogging, and that it’s given me time to think about stuff.. you know, that whole “time to reflect” kinda thing but, jogging aside, I’ve done little except try to stay awake during the day, watch old movies, and keep myself dosed up on all sorts of drugs, herbal remedies and spicy hot curries.

Anyway, on to other things.

The Ryder Cup for one. Well done Europe for… well.. without overplaying it I think the word “annihilation” may feature in the tabloids this morning.

Other news I’ve “missed” include the ongoing Blair/Brown bore, the near-death experience of the hamster (glad he’s getting better!), and lots of other exciting things that have slipped by my Lemsip-addled brain.

It’ll be back to work tomorrow, and back to life, and we’ve a busy week coming up.

Well my wife does, as she’s out every night this week. I’m gonna take it easy until this damn virus is out of my system, and then, hopefully, I might have something to talk about!

Update: How remiss of me not to thank you all for your kind thoughts and suggestions. I tried most of them, including the “bung” (made of tissue, soon failed due to over absorption), and can safely say that not one did the trick but I think the combination of them all helped to subdue the bug. I’m currently applying for shares in Kleenex. Ta muchly, one and all. Yer not a bad bunch.

Stopcock

OK. Enough.

This is boring the crap outta me now. Must be boring you.

But JESUS, who knew the human body could be so damn productive. Man-size Kleenex are just about doing their job, and I’ve gone through a box in less than 24 hours and STILL IT WON’T STOP!!!

I’m seriously just considering letting my nose run. I mean I can wash it off later, my clothes can be washed and I’m sure Louise … ahh.. yeah, she might mind.

I’ll be back after the weekend when, hopefully, I’ll have done more than watch movies, read books and blow my goddam nose every two fucking minutes.

Although I will say this.

Have you seen the Jimmy Stewart movie “Mr Smith goes to Washington”? I watched it today, for the first time, and towards the end, as his local home published newspaper gets in on the propaganda act, I couldn’t help thinking: That’s what the internet is now, a home published newspaper.

Yup, that’s about the limit of my thinking.

And yes, I’ve blown my nose twice during the writing of this post.

Bloody Google

Things wot I have learnt in the past few days.

Man-size tissues should be mandatory. The piffly wee Kleenex ones, whilst they come in a nice box, are next to useless against the mucus factory in my head. One blow into a regular Kleenex tissue and I end up with … well I’m sure you can use your imaginations.

Checking the spelling of a word by googling it doesn’t always work. If your original guess at the spelling is way out, all you’ll get back are confirmations that yes, 147,583 people mis-spelled the word the same way you do. See Euchinasia for Echinacea, as an example.

Feed a cold, starve a fever they say. I’ll second that, as I’ve been ravenous. Unfortunately our house has recently been relocated to Dietland so that means I’m gorging myself on rice crackers, pretzels (the small dried UK kind), and … ohh… fruit. When what I really want is stodgy pies, doughnuts and a great big dripping QuarterPounder with Cheese… and yes I’d like to Supersize that. Completely futile anyway as I can’t taste a damn thing… ast night I had some chicken and potatoes and SALAD CREAM just so I could taste something!

Olbas oil may stink out the entire room but it does mean that I can breath through my nose for the first time in two days.

I STILL have man-flu.

*sniff*

More sympathy please. Ta.

Sniffle

So my day of driving a white van has ended. Alas I didn’t get any pictures as:

1. I forgot my camera.
2. It was raining.

Let me qualify point 2. When I say it was raining I don’t mean a quick downpour, nor a mild shower, and I’m not sure that “cats and dogs” covers it sufficiently. No, it was teeming, pouring, tumulting (?), and generally lashing down with the fury of a god that has been dying for a pee for weeks.

Aside: Did anyone else get that story, from an uncle or cousin, when they were younger? The one about rain being when God had to go to the bathroom? Just me, then.

We tried to time the loading and unloading of the van for the brief pauses when it was “only” raining, but most of my day was spent wishing I had lifted my waterproof jacket, and wringing out the sleeves of my jumper. Still, we got everything done, and having picked up the van with an empty fuel tank, it was with some glee that, as I neared the drop off point, the low fuel light came on.

Driving home last night I noticed a distinctly raw feeling when I swallowed, and at around 2am I woke up unable to breath through my noise nose (although “noise” might have been more apt).

Yes, I do believe we have the beginnings of man-flu.

Paracetemol, Vitamin C and Euchinasia have been drafted in for the battle but tomorrow evenings jog looks a long way away at the moment.

*sniff*

Sympathy please. Ta.