Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Haha, told you, teachers do love me!

Posted by Chris @ 10:05 PM

I was right! Teachers do love me, its taken them a week or two (or 3 or 4!) but finally a student teacher has commented on the site. And look the proof is right here!!


Monday, May 30, 2005

Big Aunt back online and other news

Posted by Chris @ 6:20 PM

Firstly apologies for having to take Big Aunt offline after only one evening live, however we were away for the weekend, and I didn't fancy leaving a hot lamp and a dodgy old PC on all that time, thus coming back to a burnt out house!

However the good news is that Big Aunt is now back online and won't be taken offline for the foreseeable future, yeah! Also numbers have been bolstered by some ant collecting this afternoon to 17.

However the bad news is that I've lost my first ant, he was dead on our return today :0(

Anyway with 17 ants hopefully the tunnels will really start to take shape, stay tuned!

In other news Dawn and I saw Star Wars Episode III this weekend, I really enjoyed it, more than II and I - and it has made me want to watch the original Star Wars now, something I haven't seen for maybe 14 years now! I'm also looking forward to seeing the first BB highlights programme tonight, I've been deprived of Big Brother since the first show, so feel a little out of touch already!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Big Aunt is Live!

Posted by Chris @ 8:46 PM

Yes, Big Aunt is live! Well its taken me a while to get the webcam working, and I'll go into the inner workings of all that in another post. Suffice to say there are now 2 ants in the Antquarium so I say its live!

Catching ants and transferring them to the Antquarium is suprisingly difficult, one escaped in the transfer and is now roaming our back bedroom somewhere! Which is why there are only 2 ants.

Anyway I'll try and add some more ants in the next few days to keep it going, and here's hoping the tunnels start to grow!!

Right, I'm off to watch Big Brother now!

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Posted by Chris @ 7:09 PM

How the web doth work! It was only today at lunch I was reading in "Computing" that companies should watch blogs for mentions of their products, urls, etc for free market research and spotting potential problems. They said that searching all the worlds blogs is easy with an rss agregator. The only stumping block I found was how do you get the rss feeds for all the blogs in the world, and how do you search them?

Well I need be stumped no more for www.technorati.com is here to save the day. I found it looking at my own site stats and found it to be a referring url - and low and behold it monitors over 10 million blogs and allows you to search for and watch keywords and urls. What a stroke of luck that I should find it today of all days!

Fantastic. So tomorrow at work we can all do some great research on our brands, products and services and see what people really think about then!

On a personal level it will also be great to see what other blogs are linking back to mine, and for what topics!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Big Aunt is coming!

Posted by Chris @ 9:27 PM

So last birthday by mate and Best Man Anthony Main bought me an Antquarium, so I wouldn't forget about him!

Anyway now that Big Brother is starting in the UK this Friday, I've decided that now is the time to put some Ants in the gel and watch them in what I like to call Big Aunt (thanks go to Tony for the genius pun linking Big Brother, and Big Ant into Big Aunt!)

You'll get some house preview shots tomorrow, and I'll launch on Friday, along with Big Brother. I'm planning to get a webcam setup so that you can watch the ant's tunneling progress, but I'm currently having trouble finding Dawn's digital camera that can be used as a webcam (mines useless). In the meantime manual photos will be used and put in the Big Aunt gallery in the photos section of the site.

Some FAQs about the ants and the plans for Big Aunt.

  • About 20 - 25 ants will make the blue gel that provides them with food and drink their home.
  • From the little starter tunnels I make they will tunnel around, and it is the progress of their tunnel building that is the point of Big Aunt.
  • The ants will take between 24 / 48 hours to start tunneling.
  • Any ants that die will be removed from the tank, but no further ants will be added. Any ants that die in tunnels are brought to the surface by the other ants to avoid disease, so that's how I'll remove them!
  • Once all ants have died (they live between 1 - 3 months) Big Aunt is over, until Big Aunt 2!
  • All ants are female, and no Queen ant will be present in Big Aunt, as I don't have one!

As for things to do with the ants, such as tasks, I'm not really planning anything other than watching them. I am however open to suggestions, so if you have any let me know.

All that's left for me to say is watch this space!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Well done Marks and Spencer

Posted by Chris @ 1:22 PM

I was watching BBC Breakfast this morning and they were reporting about M&S profits being down. They had various analysts on giving their opinions of why this was, and as usual with the BBC they offered it out to the viewers to have their say.

Most of the comments were reasonable, costs to much, trying to appeal to too broad a customer base etc. However one woman was clearly not happy, she wrote in saying they don't have a big enough range, stating that their clothes only go up to size 22.

Size 22! Now I'm not claiming to be fatist but that's ridiculous, if you are not happy that M&S doesn't stock the nice dresses in larger sizes, loose some weight and fit into them like everyone else has to.

In fact I might take it as far to say well done M&S for making a stand. Maybe you could drop your top size down to 20, or 18 even? Maybe the entire clothing industry could do that? That way larger people (who am I kidding, fat people) will get a clear message to loose weight, eat healthily, and obesity in this country would be eradicated.

And if there are no clothes for fat people they won't be able to leave their houses, so we won't have to look at them anymore, or dawdle behind them on footpaths, or squeeze past them in pubs etc...

I'm sure this post will provoke both positive and negative comments, but please let me have 'em!

To those that are clinically obese due to medical problems my sincerest apologies, I am aiming this post at lazy slobs, not you.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Race for Life

Posted by Chris @ 7:59 PM

We've been out today at Temple Newsam for the Race for Life, in aid of Cancer Research UK. My mum, Dawn and her friend Jill all raced, and have raised a mighty total of £280, well done to them all! I'm very proud of you. To give you a flavour of the event below is three pictures.

All three ready to go
All three ready to go.

Can you see them
Can you see them? Try harder, like near the top left!

There's Dawn and Jill
There's Dawn, and Jill just behind her!

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Posted by Chris @ 4:31 PM

I finally got a refund for a dodgy colour printer cartridge today, and since I no longer need one I've spent the money on something else!

In FHM this month there was an article about getting your digital photos printed online, and one such outlet, Photobox.co.uk was said to do posters. So without further ado I've registered and ordered an A2 matt poster of this picture.

So lets see what it turns out like, I sent in the full size 7MPixel pic so the quality should be good. For £13.99 each (plus £1.50 p&p) I'm hoping it will be anyway!

Now with the remaining £7 what can I do? Suggestions....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Elvis bloody Presley

Posted by Chris @ 8:44 PM

What is it with people and Elvis Presley? I know I'm not of the right generation to be commenting on this as I haven't seen "The King" live, but come on, really, what is wrong with you people?

As far as I can surmise, yes he was one of the first to do rock'n roll, I'll give him that, but his songs were average, nothing on some of today's male solo artists, he wasn't the only solo male artist about, certainly isn't anymore, and got fat eating burgers and died. Yes people, he's not missing, about to come back, he's dead.

And yet people still love him, worship him, call him "The King", impersonate him, visit his home, Graceland. WHY???? His music is ok, but the need to love the man is a little sad.


Anyway the cause of this rant, and it is a rant, is Junior Mastermind. How could they possibly be related I hear you cry? Because on tonight's programme a girl's specialist subject was Back to the Future, and her interest was in time travel. And during the little chat before the general knowledge John Humphrys asked her if you could meet anyone in time, who would you like to meet? And her answer, yes you've guessed it folks:

Elvis bloody Presley.

Sunday BBQ fun at Tony and Suzy's

Posted by Chris @ 8:52 AM

Tony makes a good if not blatant point of pointing out that yes indeed we were invited across to his place for the Christening of his BBQ. There was food, there was drink, albeit soft drinks for me :o(, and there was much prodding of charcoal. I think as a first effort at a BBQ for Tony he did alright, and many lessons have been learnt for the next one, like more charcoal at the start, patience is a virtue when BBQing, and avoid standing near the BBQ whilst it is heating up as the warping tray can eject charcoal with lethal force (well it would be if we were stood there).

Another key lesson, BBQ's in May are cold when started at 6, so start them slightly earlier in the day, and later in the year!!

There, that should keep the mithering Bolton lad happy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Walking weekend

Posted by Chris @ 9:57 PM

This Sunday we finally went for a long overdue walk in the Peak District, (well pretty much the Northern tip of the Peak District) with our picnic, maps and all important book describing the route!

We walked around Langsett reservoir, and very nice it was too - I can recommend it to anyone, although get there earlyish as the car park was full when we turned up, but we squeezed into a small corner space!

The down side is I went and forgot my digital camera, so unfortunately there are no pictures to show you - oh well I'm sure we'll return so I can take a few more then!

Finally hello to Alex, I've just found out via email that she is a regular reader of the site, always nice to know people read this thing, makes it seem worthwhile!

Backstage BBC

Posted by Chris @ 1:25 PM

As so often with the world of the blog, you read one blog to discover another more interesting one, and this has happened today. http://backstage.bbc.co.uk is a developers area for the BBC, providing links to feeds, data, APIs, etc that the BBC have developed for developers to us. A few ideas and prototypes are already on the site and they plan to add a lot more feeds and APIs. It will be interesting to see what I can do with them - you might see a few trial pages playing with this stuff on my site fairly soon!

Monday, May 16, 2005

New feature written in .net!

Posted by Chris @ 8:29 PM

I've written my first ASP.net file for my blog, whoopeee!! The new feature is in the nav bar, and is an aspx file within an iframe. Titled "Other Recent Blog Posts" it reads the rss and atom feeds of various blogs and sites I like to keep an eye on, and displays the title of the latest item, thus helping me keep track of which sites have been updated.

To avoid the page constantly hitting other peoples feeds whenever someone looks at my site I've implemented a sort of caching feature. The aspx page generates a static version of the links, and only updates it if someone loads my site and the static page is older than 12 hours - if it is within the 12 hours the aspx page simply redirects to the static page.

Full code listing is available, use it as you wish, pick over it, criticise it, ignore it - as usual all comments you may have are greatly appreciated on this, my first ASP.net outing!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mini mini cabs update

Posted by Chris @ 9:33 PM

OK, so after to listening to your ideas and criticisms about my great idea I have ploughed on with a great homepage for Mini mini cabsâ„¢. In traditional fashion it is not the best design, but what I am proud of is that the price feature works - try it out!

Additional features I would have if it were a real idea would be Italian Job style driving, for a £10 deposit (to cover insurance premiums in case of accident!) and on cab advertising as an extra revenue stream.

Anyway I think I shall leave Mini mini cabsâ„¢ there, I've bored you all enough going on about it, and I think I have genuinely worried some people I was going mad!

Its a shame, but maybe one day it will be so.......

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mini mini cabs

Posted by Chris @ 6:20 PM

Walking to the station this evening I saw an old mini and suddenly a great business idea came out of my head.

Mini mini cabsâ„¢

An idea of genius I'm sure you'll agree, a mini cab company whose entire fleet consists of Minis. You could have the older style minis, new style minis, convertible minis, and for the luxury end of the market some of those limousine minis. Throw in online booking, as well as the normal telephone service, and you have what Domino's Pizza did for pizzas for mini cabs!

I'm sure you will all want to congratulate me on my great idea, or point to flaws in my plan, so go right ahead - its my idea and you can't steal it from me now I've blogged it so any feedback is all good!

And in case you were wondering Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search have no "Mini mini cabs" in their results so that's a good start, now all I need to do is get funding.........

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Site makeover

Posted by Chris @ 8:36 PM

As you may have noticed I have given the site a little makeover. Essentially I've tinkered under the hood of the site to make the layout a little more fluid. Doing this with CSS has taken all the afternoon and evening to accomplish, however it does seem to work OK now. It should now fill your screen and is officially designed for 1024x768, but should look fine in most resolutions and text sizes.

In addition to this I've moved all of the Blogger template images onto my web space so if their site is down mine still looks OK, and have produced a print style sheet, so if you print my blog you won't have to print the nav or header/footer, plus the text is all in black with the links underlined.

Anyway now I've finished doing all of this I'd better pay my fiance some attention cause she's starting to winge...

P.S. 4 posts in one day, you lucky people!

E4 is coming to Freeview!

Posted by Chris @ 3:05 PM

Yep, you read right! I've found out this weekend via my parents (a surprise there, I'm normally telling them about new things) that E4 is going to be made available on Freeview from 27th May, to coincide with the start of Big Brother 6! They will also be releasing E4+1 on Freeview as well. That means 24 hour coverage of Big Brother is available to the masses at last!

What does this also mean? We can save £7.99 a month by scrapping our Top Up Tv subscription, as E4 was all we really had it for! Secondly we can buy a new DigiBox now we don't need the slot for the viewing card, as the ITV Digital one I've got at the moment is pants due to the software being slow and out of date. Hopefully changing it will make the electronic program guide much quicker and easier to use, and changing channel shouldn't take 5 seconds!!

Plus Men and Motors is on Freeview now, something else I had no clue about!

Teachers love me

Posted by Chris @ 10:17 AM

Well the title might be a little misleading, but I don't care! Apparently, word on the street (that street being Alison's) I have a group of student teachers who like reading my blog during their ICT lessons - when they should be DOING WORK!

Apparently I make them laugh, whether at my hilarious posts, or just at me and my sad posts about elections and my walls, who knows?

Anyway I now feel under great pressure hearing this news to make an effort with my spelling and grammar, and more importantly to make it a bit funnier.

But then again they're already reading it at this level of funniness, so should I bother trying to make it funnier? My instinct is no, if they wanna read it then they will. Anyway this particular group of student teachers can now revel in the fact they are mentioned on my blog!

And if any of them want to comment about this post to prove their existence, then please go ahead, although if you were to not comment that would just make me look foolish.

Class dismissed.

Labour won, well done

Posted by Chris @ 10:16 AM

That about sums my feelings up.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Unusually quiet

Posted by Chris @ 6:11 PM

Yes, I have been unusually quiet on the blog the last few days, and much like it bothers Chris Hill, it bothers me too to see the same post at the top of my blog. So I'm posting this to change it.

On a political note its the general election today and I must say I'm glad Labour is leading in the polls, cause lets face it the Convervatives would ruin the country in a single year (tax cuts and increased spending, I ask you who are they trying to kid) , and the Lib Dems, bless em, despite some good policies, haven't got a chance.

I also managed to get some political opinion out of Tony Ruscoe, an apathetic (non-)voter, so that pleased me that I had achieved some success where others might have failed!

I've rambled enough to make this worthwhile, lets see tmw if my hopes for the election outcome are lived out!