Tag: CBATG

Questions Answered #1

In a desperate effort to gain some weird form of validation, I stole an idea for a blog post and begged my readers to ask me a question. And they did. The buggers. Now I have to answer them.

Question 1: Keith (my blogless* mate) asked “4.56 AM or other similar times that should not exist, what to do when you find your self there”.

The first thing to try and figure out is whether that time should, or should not, exist. It’s entirely possible for that specific time (and others like it) to exist in a very pleasant way. For example, and this is just completely off the top of my head, if you were, say, in the back of a stretch limo, supping champagne from the bottle whilst cavorting in a hot tub with a gaggle of supermodels, you might think “this is a pretty good time”, or (perhaps somewhat more realistically) if you were waiting atop Kilimanjaro for the sunrise, those would both be excellent examples of “times that most definitely should exist”. I’d warrant that if the time was 4.55 AM (in either of our scenarios) and as the second hand clicked round onto 12 everything disappeared to revel it’d all been a dream… well I was pis… you’d be pretty pissed off, right?

I digress (and for longer than you realise, although I really shouldn’t admit that I’ve spent the last few minutes figuring out which supermodels I’ve have in the hot tub with me… now, where was I? Ohh yes, why times shouldn’t exist).

Right, let’s presume that you’ve been trying, and failing, to fall asleep.

If that’s the case then anything beyond 2 AM counts as “a time that should not exist” (as do the years 1981-1984 but that’s a different story..) and you are probably wide awake and silently cursing your inability to get to sleep. You probably have to be up in a few hours for something important like a wedding or job interview (work itself doesn’t count), so you’ll be trying like mad to find that comfy spot in the bed so you can “drop off” (odd phrase that, surely dropping off the bed would wake you up?).

Right, so you are wide awake, so the first thing to do if get up out of bed. Let’s make sure your body knows that sleep is nowhere near, as this is stage one in the trick of “falling back asleep” that always seems to work for me (or at the very least MAY work for me as I’m making this all up as I go along, can you tell?). Right, downstairs, put the kettle on and boil the TV.

Done? Excellent.

Having now successfully blacked out the neighbourhood you can go back to bed.

You see, the only reason you are awake is because you are waiting for an alarm to wake you back up. You know that when the alarm goes off it will herald a new day, and possibly an “important event”. So, rather than lie awake, worrying about the alarm and the pending “important event”, this method removes your source of worry (no electricity = no pesky radio DJ screaming in your ear until you bounce the alarm clock off the floor) and you can fall asleep peacefully.

Simple.

If anyone tries this method, do let me know how it goes as, obviously, YMMV**.

Ohh, and on a final note, if you are thinking of trying this method, I’d really appreciate it if you signed and sent me an official waiver or something first. Anything that absolves me of any blame whatsoever would be ideal. Thanks.

Sleep well.


* Doesn’t make him any less of a man though. Mind you, the big chuffers about 6’5 so I’m not ever really that inclined to argue with him or point out any character deficiencies. What do you think am I? Stupid? No, that is not a question I need answered.

** YMMV means “Your mileage may vary”. It’s one of those ‘geek’ abbreviations that a lot of people don’t understand. But hey, if they CBATG, then obviously the PEBCAK.

Snippets

Money for old rope? Or is it possible to blog full-time? Last year Jason Kottke tried it, couldn’t make it stick. Now John Gruber is heading down the same road.

The reason I ask is that yesterday’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek post seems to have… well not quite enraged but definitely “irked” a few people somewhat. I guess for a lot of people it comes down to personal values, namely what you value most in life.

Me? Cold hard cash. Piles of it. Enough to burn.

OK, not really, er well maybe just a small pile..

~

Web design posts have been few and far between on here of late. There is a very good reason of course, namely that I want to setup a blog on onemandesigns but haven’t had a moment to do it. Ideally I’ll cross-post an excerpt on here as well but I’m not exactly sure on the details yet.

Need to get it done though, I’ve a stack of things to write about, and my head is gonna burst if I don’t get them out soon.

~

I don’t blog about work on here, well not directly anyway just the occasional “ya boo sucks” kinda nonsense that everyone goes through. It’s just as well too as —and don’t ask me why this has just occurred to me— my referrer stats have shown up somebody (people?) searching for my name in conjunction with my employers name. I’m guessing it may be interview candidates as they know who is interviewing them and who I work for… or it could be someone else who is checking me out in a “professional” capacity.

Either way, a lesson to you all. Careful what you say!

~

WordPress questions. I seem to have developed a penchant for my old friend the mdash (—). However, it’s becoming a bit of a drag having to type out the HTML entity code each time (& mdash ; ) and I’m wondering if there is an easier way around this problem. It’s the same for & pound ; and letter accents. Annoying.

I’m guessing I’ve missed something really obvious but CBATG.

~

.htaccess files are fun, aren’t they?

Well, no not really. They still fall into the realm of black magic as far as I’m concerned but I’ve been mucking about (on a test system) with something I hope to implement here. I mentioned it, er, last week I think. A homepage.

Problem is this blog is the default page for the domain, but I’m sure I read somewhere I could do some clever redirecty thingy using .htaccess… I don’t mind moving the blog to, say, /blog/ but it’s a bit of a pain in the ass for everyone else.

Mind you, as I’m linked to under so many different monikers (as previously discussed) it might be good to force people to update their links! And yes, the most annoying one is most definitely the “Gordon McClean” links. One “c” people, ONE!

~

SQL Injection attack anyone? Scottish Blogs has, suddenly, has a huge amount of rogue “submitted sites” (over 100 in the past hour, as opposed to 20 or so a day). I’ll see how many there are in the morning but might need to turn … um… something off somewhere! Balls.

AM update: Seems to have calmed down and, in the cold light of the morning I think it’s more a concerted attack on the form rather than SQL Injection. So far, so quiet(er).

~

I have a new method for dealing with cold callers. Last night, Louise had gone out to dinner with friends, I was sitting at the PC doing some work when the phone rang. The phone upstairs doesn’t have a caller id display so I picked up… only for some woman to immediately start yakking down the phone at me about how I’d “won” a mobile phone and how wonderful it was and how lucky I am. Now, would I give her my mobile number?

“No…” said I, and before I could complete the sentence she was off again… I was mid-way through hanging up when I decided against it. I listened to her for about 30 seconds, and with no sign of her abating, I gently placed the handset on the desk and let her enjoy a little bit of Kate Bush. She finally stopped after a further minute (34 seconds after I put the phone down, I was counting by now) and I could just make her out.. “hello? HELLO?”.

I held my breath, expecting her to disconnect. She didn’t. Over the music I could faintly hear the next round in her glorious eulogy —this one timed at a full 77 seconds— before she paused again. “hello? HELLO?”.

Click.

WP Plugin Idea

May already exist. CBATG (well I did but only found one ‘unpublished’ plugin).

A plugin that will control the publishing of posts, only releasing one every X days.

For example, I could write five posts in one night, hit publish and forget about them. The plugin would publish the first one immediately, then set the date on the second one to X days from the first, the date of the third one to X days from the second and so on.

It would need to check the dates of previously published posts to get the gap between the first post and the most recently published one… in fact that’s all it would need to do. Check the db for the last published post, and change the date on the next post to X days from that. As WordPress will pre-publish to future dates that’s all it should need to do… Hmmm that doesn’t sound too hard actually. For someone else, obviously.

Snippets

Mike proves that the easiest way to get comments for your post is to change the design. Why do we find change so hard to take?

~

My downward trend has continued. Whilst only a measly 1lb lighter than last week, I’m quite happy. Especially given that last night I had a big stir fry at my brother-in-laws, and on Wednesday night we visited an “all you can eat” Chinese buffet place before we went to see Lee Evans. Add in a distinct lack of exercise due to time constraints (ok ok due to me being too lazy…) and 1lb is quite an achievement!

~

We popped in to see my parents last night and Mum gave me back some of my old piano books. Full of threats and notes from my piano teacher, it might be just the thing to get me to use the little Yamaha keyboard to play music on instead of a permanent home to various pieces of paperwork.

~

I CBATG so can anyone tell me how Michael Jackson came to own the rights to the Beatles back catalogue?

CBATG*

Anyone know of a free UK based service that will allow the receiving of a fax on the web or via email? One time only need, not urgent.

~

Sun dances. You’ve all heard of rain dances and can picture native american indians (or red indians as we used to call them) dancing round in circles, knees lifted high, arms raised, chanting “heyy ya hooo ya heyy ya hoo yaa” (so THAT’S where Outkast got that song from…), but is there an equivalent dance to bring out the sun? And if I can convince 40,000 people to do it on Saturday, will it work?

~

Currently listening to Foo Fighters, 22-20s, Brian Eno, James Blunt, Ambulance Ltd, Jamie Lidell with a mix of Feeder, Zutons and R.E.M. thrown in. Reviews to follow.

~

Louise’s parents land back in Scotland on Sunday, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them!

* CBATG

Attention Deficit.. Thingy

Stuck. Paused. Diverted.

I have a couple of new projects to work on, a couple of projects that are stuck at the “hard bits” (both in theory and in workload) and I’m managing to avoid them all at the moment. Filling my time researching, taking care of other small tasks.

I’m partway through “Getting Things Done” and have considered that it is because I’m not sure how to progress the projects, and that I have many other minor distractions, that I’m putting them off. For one of the new projects I’m hoping to use some of the techniques suggested in the book – one of the techniques suggests a two day downtime whilst you get yourself sorted, I’m hoping to be in that position next week.

It could be a bad case of AADD, acquired Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder, which brings with it the problem of a constant state of partial distraction. No matter how focussed I think I am on a project, it’s a constant battle not to check emails or news feeds, not to start the brainstorming for that other project, not to stop and put the bin out or bring the clothes in from the line. I’d offer more on this but, you know, CBATG.

I usually combat this state by working at home. Conversely (perversely?) for me I find I’m more comfortable here, have fewer distractions and so can get more work done. However the more I think about… hang on… bloody car alarms.. where was I?

Oh yes, the more I think about HOW I work at home, the more I realise that, whilst I do tend to produce more output when I’m at home, I do still have many distractions (car alarms withstanding) but when I’m here I can at least action them. There is very little point in remembering to take the washing in whilst I’m sat in the office.

So I have done what everyone does when they have many things to accomplish, I’ve started a list. However instead of listing all the things that are in my line of sight at the moment, I’ve only listed the most important two. Yes, two.

You should see the list of distractions though…

Technorati

It’s been a while since I added Technorati tagging to my posts, has anyone used them? Found them helpful?

I’m hoping they are providing a few good pointers to other related posts and so saving me the hassle of finding and posting the links myself, thus giving me a CBATG meets Technorati = web-based lifehack style equation.

But there is one thing that’s bugging me (of course).

One of the tags on the previous post – – is, at time of writing, a unique tag. In fact the Technorati page has this to say about it:

Congratulations, you’ve discovered a tag with no posts!

But that’s not right, is it? There IS a post with that tag, MY post! Shouldn’t it say “You’ve discovered a tag with only one post!”?? Or is it simply because it hasn’t “found” my post yet? Yes, it’s probably the latter but I’m sure the clever people there could figure out a way to differentiate between someone clicking a link, and someone searching for a tag through the technorati website.

A quick note to the Technorati guys: If you can’t figure it out, give me a shout. It’s dead easy!

All of this has gotten me thinking on folksonomies which is a big word that means a tagging system that allows people to choose their own tags – as opposed to an index system where someone else sets the tags that are available for use.

Both have their advantages, with indexes working better in a controlled environment with a rigid structure, user manuals is the obvious example, and folksonomies working better across a wide spread of information types and mediums. Hence their prevalence on blogs and photo sites (factiod: currently there are 23901 photos in Flickr that are tagged “photo“).

Of course the one downside to folksonomies is that sometimes what you would choose as a tag isn’t obvious to anyone else using the system, or, as can be evidenced in my own del.icio.us links, you don’t even stick to the same tags yourself (in my case I started out with intentions of add a year tag… er.. once… and surely I should have gone with year and month… I digress) and have to edit them your own tags ending up almost by default with an index of sorts.

The upside results in huge amounts of fun bashing in random words to any folksonomically driven search engine and seeing what it spews forth. And we know how the blogging world enjoys it’s fruitless and entertaining displacement activities.

Business Idea

I see a lot of things online that I would like to purchase. Unfortunately a lot of them (increasingly so) are in the US, and I’ll be honest and say that I’m not going to pay almost the same again for the postage of an item.

So here’s the idea – club together with other people who are getting stuff shipped over and you should all be able to save?

Potentially then, with the agreement of online stores of course, you’d purchase an item and if you wanted cheaper postage – but a longer wait for the item – you’d add it to a bulk shipping cart. When the cart reaches a certain level, the items are shipped out. I’m sure discounts could be arranged, and most of the time the internal postage cost could be factored into the price.

If anyone ever sets up something like this (CBATG) let me know. I’m my silence can be bought…

UPDATE: Can you tell I didn’t really give this much thought? Probably why I’m still the monkey and not the organ grinder.

Tools

I’m rattling through my To-Do list for today, and I remember a comment I saw in the HaloScan forums last night. Jeevan pointed out that HaloScan had, justifiably, been nominated and I started to wonder how many of the Bloggies nominees used HaloScan. That lead me to ponder which blogging tool was the most popular and so, with that in mind, I present the following statistics for your perusal.

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