Saturday, December 23, 2006

Icons everywhere!

Posted by Chris @ 4:40 PM

You may have noticed in the right of the top navigation bar I've moved the feed link up there, and added several other icons that link to my various profiles on various websites. It is quite surprising how many websites I am a member of, and I've probably forgotten some! If you remember any of them for me let me know! And to give credit for the idea, Tony suggested doing this on his site a few weeks back, guess I've just beat him to it ;o)

Friday, December 22, 2006

What is all this fading and yellow stuff then?

Posted by Chris @ 10:34 PM

You may have noticed on my blog things that I load in using AJAX techniques now fade in and have a little spotlight put on them using a yellow background. That's because I'm using the Yahoo YUI JavaScript library and following one of their design patterns.

Any comments let me know, I quite like it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Radio 1's Live Lounge

Posted by Chris @ 9:27 PM

Radio 1's Live Lounge review coming up, but first I've just finished watching The Trouble with Atheism, if you didn't see it apologies, this won't make much sense. It has frustrated me to sit and watch this programme, because whilst he makes some good arguments, to me he was arguing the wrong points, and on other points there is no comeback to his argument, so as soon as you try to reason your answer he'd just go "there you go again, told you I was right." Aaargh! Anyway better people than me will be able to articulate their thoughts on this programme much better, so I shall move on.

A present I forgot to include in my birthday haul was Radio 1's Live Lounge CD. This is 2 CDs of tracks performed acoustically in the live lounge on Jo Whiley's show on Radio 1. There is an excellent mix of tracks on this CD, and it of course includes some of the great songs that have been covered by alternative artists. Some, like the Arctic Monkeys take on a Girls Aloud track, are a noble attempt but don't quite hit the mark, whilst others are absolute genius (Kooks singing Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, Corine Bailey Rae doing Editor's Munich, etc).

If you're stuck for a last minute Christmas present you'd be hard pressed to find a better CD, especially because of it's mix of tracks and acoustic nature, it is bound to please. Buy it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Birthday, Antibo and Bond

Posted by Chris @ 7:07 PM

Today is my birthday - happy birthday to me! I'm a grand old age of 26 years, but that's still younger than most of my readers so I can't grumble too much ;o)

My present haul this year hasn't been too shabby, amongst other things I've received:

  • An expensive North Face jacket for snowboarding
  • A Pico Z model helicopter
  • The David Blunkett diaries book
  • The latest Jeremy Clarckson book
  • A beer belly from Tony
  • A pair of gloves, a bottle of port, and some sweets.

To celebrate the passing of another year on Friday Ant came over and helped me drink 3 bottles of wine and reminisce! On Saturday Dawn and I took ourselves off to Antibos in West One in Sheffield. Whilst we only had the choice of the Christmas menu, we both had a delicious meal. I had a goats cheese salad, chicken on a risotto with mustard sauce, and profiteroles to finish. Dawn had a chicken and duck terrine, turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and homemade chocolate brownie. The atmosphere was great, the service attentive, but not pushy, and the whole evening was a great experience. If you've not tried Antibo before I'd recommend it, I know we'll be off back to sample the regular menu!

For my final birthday treat today we went to watch the Bond movie Casino Royale. OMG, this is a brilliant film. I knew it was going to be good from what others had said, but what I saw was a movie even better than I had expected. It quite literally exceeded my expectations! I'm not sure there is much I can say bad about this film, from the parkour stunts at the beginning, through to the brilliant interplay between Bond and M, to the poker game and development of Bond's character this is an excellent film, and an excellent prequel to the entire Bond franchise. Watch it watch it watch it!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fairytale of New York

Posted by Chris @ 9:36 AM

I like Christmas, I like Christmas songs. I also like good music, and whilst from time to time my musical knowledge gets slightly befuddled in my head (I now know that the Rolling Stones, Stone Roses and Guns n' Roses are not the same band) I know what I like and what I don't like. And I don't like the bloody Pogues Fairytale of New York.

To quote a popular phrase of Chris', it is seven kinds of evil. Quite how this song, featuring Bob Geldof and Kirsty Gallagher*, is so popular is beyond me. It is out of tune durge that should have been consigned to the bargain bin and never played again, but instead it is one of the most popular Christmas songs out there. WHY?!

It is like Shane MacGowan rolled out of some pub, half-cut, and turned to Kirsty and said “Kirsty, mi love, I'm pissed, lets make a Christmas song.” It is truly awful, and out of tune. Admittedly when Kirsty starts singing she is more in tune, but he's still there shouting in the background like some bad karaoke night.

How anyone ever liked this song I've no idea. The only reason I've come up with so far came to me via Paul yesterday. He forwarded, as part of International Monkey Day, this amusing anecdote, Monkey see, monkey do. To summarise, I believe everyone likes Fairytale of New York because that's the way it has always been. Perhaps I'm the only intelligent monkey in the room going “hang on, this is shit!”

However I'm not one to say my piece and stifle opinion (even though I'm right) so please, people of Britain, restore my faith in you by telling me someone else out there despises, with a passion, this tuneless drivel they choose to call a Christmas song, and play repeatedly during December. Please!

*This is a joke the guys from work will get. I know it is not Bob Geldof and Kirsty Gallagher singing on it now, but for a while I really did think it was Mr Geldof. As I said, musical knowledge gets a bit befuddled in my head.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Monarchy

Posted by Chris @ 8:07 PM

Monarchy, by David Starkey, has been a fascinating watch on Channel 4. His delivery is a little dry, and you have to concentrate to take it in, but if you do you are rewarded with a fantastic insight into the history of Britain. I'm not going to list out the wondrous things I've learned here, but getting a sense of context for historical facts is fascinating.

Great, you're thinking, nice of you to tell me all about this when the programme has finished. Ha, well that's where you're wrong, you see 4oD (4 on demand) the Channel 4 download service is here to save the day. Apparently (I've not checked this) the Monarchy series is available to download for free from 4oD (unlike other stuff you have to pay a nominal fee for), so you can watch it all and be as amazed as I have been. As ever there is a book to accompany the series, and hopefully I'll get to read this one day.

That is all, class dismissed.

Monday, December 04, 2006

BBC Touch continues a pace

Posted by Chris @ 9:24 PM

Wow - BBC Touch, a little quick idea I had that as a web developer I could execute, has really been getting some notice in the blog-o-sphere. Towards the end of November I had a spike in traffic of some 5000 page views, and for me that is a lot! Groovy. A quick look at Google Blog Search reveals quite a few people have taken an interest in BBC Touch, and discussions are cropping up all over the shop, cool.

[Original post on BBC Touch]