Thursday, May 31, 2007

Drivel

Posted by Chris @ 1:26 PM

The genius of Facebook is that as soon as we all signed up, they realised it was time to unleash their killer move, and launched the Facebook Platform. So firstly, congratulations for the timing. Secondly, it means developers with far too much time on their hands, and faster coders than me, have already built apps that nicely show my latest Vimeo videos and Flick photos on my Facebook profile (SubVimeo and My Flickr respectively) and Last.fm say they're building something for it too. Kudos to all those guys, only thing is it means I'm all out of ideas for what I can build with Facebook now. But I'm thinking on it. If is possible I'll try and use Facebook in Hackday, but since Facebook isn't a Yahoo or BBC thing I might not. The crux of the problem is this, I have far too many API's flying around my head trying to form that 1 shining star that will be a really really good idea, so I might just have to try and build all the crud that's whizzing around to make way for the brilliance. Hmmm. I think this blog post is part of that process, I'm getting rid of this, quite frankly, drivel, to make way for better things. Oh, and whilst I'm here another thing about Facebook, if you value your spare time don't signup, it will wipe what spare time you have, encroach on time you shouldn't give to Facebook and consume your every thought. Amazing it does that really.

I guess now that I've completed this drivel some brilliance may start to come through, oooo, I've just had an idea, probably rubbish tho....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big Brother 8 Launch

Posted by Chris @ 9:23 PM

So the new series of Big Brother is on the go. First impressions of the house is it is a good one this year. Plenty of nice twists, like the spacing out of the kitchen all over the house, and the bath in the lounge. And Davina is just ideal for this gig, once again! On to the good stuff, the contestants.

Sam and Amanda, 18 year old identical twins, bit screamy, but in the main seem like two nice girls.

Lesley, 60, seems game, maybe going to be a bit tricky for the others to get on with her? Lack of common interests.

Charlie, probably not going to be liked by the public, mainly for being unemployed, describing herself as an it girl, and having a footballer relative. Yep, they're booing her already...

Tracey, man or a woman?!?!?! Apparently a woman, seems like a cleaning buzzing raver... Hmm, favourite cheese dairylea, and saying 'ave it on the way in too much, I'm going off her already

Chanelle, quite attractive, but totally into Victoria Beckham? But seems like a lot of fun despite that, I can see her doing well.

Shabnam, Shabaz for BB8? Thinks a lot of her opinion and I think will end up rubbing the housemates up the wrong way, not sure she'll last.

Quick comment here, all girls so far, looks like the papers were right, and so far all seem very watchable.

Emily, performing arts student, seems like a normal girl, claims intelligence, possibly wants publicity, but on the other had possibly just wants the experience.

Laura, Welsh, talks fast like Vicky Pollard and her nick name is wangers cos she has large boobs! And she really does talk fast. But she seems really down to earth and could be a crowd pleaser, funny, think she'll last.

Nicky, got a chip on her shoulder about men, and seems a bit dull, not sure she'll survive, depends if the other girls take to her, or she blends into the background and doesn't get nominated.

Carol, typical activist, claims she is gonna cause trouble, and will probably cause a few arguments, might well upset the public, or we'll love her, fickle bunch aren't we!

So that's it, all girls, so something for the psychologists to ponder. Once they throw a bloke in there I expect the dynamic amongst them all will change, but for now lets enjoy the ladies. I have a good feeling about this year, I think it could be a return to the glory days of BB2 and BB3, but we'll see won't we!

What, you're not watching? Don't be stupid, get it switched on and stop being so silly....

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bank holiday golf and cricket

Posted by Chris @ 2:36 PM

What a fine bank holiday weekend this has been! Saturday saw Tony, Chris A and myself head off to play a round of golf at Bondhay golf course. We only played the 9 hole par 3 course, but compared to the par 3 course at Rother Valley, it was a different league. Since it is only another 10 minutes drive from Rother Valley, make the effort and visit it, you'll be rewarded with a more challenging course, and greens you can putt on! Plus it is in the middle of nowhere, so a really peaceful and quiet course.

Sunday saw the long anticipated trip to watch the cricket at Headingly finally arrive, only for the bank holiday weather to perform true to style, and rain.

The journey started with a ridiculously packed train from Sheffield to Leeds (which I managed to squeeze onto at Wombwell). We then got taxis to the Headlingly Taps (a pub), and had a pint since it was raining (at 11am). After our first pint we wandered down to Headlingly and found our seats. Since it was still raining a little, you guessed it, we had a drink. Time passed, and at one point we had play scheduled to start for 1.30pm. But guess what, 1.22pm, it started to rain, and didn't stop for the rest of the day, bummer. I had been really looking forward to seeing some cricket for real, but at least we get a refund because there was no play.

So, with no cricket imminent we left the ground and wandered up to a pub called The Arc. A couple of drinks in there, then on to a pub (via taxi) called The Reliance. This was a really nice place just outside the centre of Leeds, where I had a fantastic brunch. Onwards from here we walked to The Elbow Room, a pool hall and bar. Here we drank some more, and played killer, which I came second in twice, gutted! Finally we caught the train home at 8:17pm, played poker on the train with some cheese and bacon bites as chips, and had a jolly good time!

So, in summary, there may well have been no cricket, which was very disappointing, but we didn't let that spoil our day and had a great time out in Leeds.

And finally today, to top off an eventful bank holiday I've woken up without a hangover :o) and have survived Meadowhell, coming home with three DVDs for £20, bargain. (If you're interested they are: Shrek 1&2 boxset, The Sentinel, and Superman Returns.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Goodbye Twitter

Posted by Chris @ 9:07 PM

Twitter and I have parted company, mainly because they've pissed me off. You'll have been used to my twitter in the right nav, and all the hype around twitter, and I genuinely found it useful, as I said it was for short little messages.

Well, recently it hasn't been working, and I've found out the cause. Twitter helpfully changed their API so that now it needs authentication, but didn't bother to tell me, thanks very much! The site also suffers from some real performance problems, and as such was slowing my site up (but twitter is built on Ruby on Rails and I just don't think it can handle high loads.) That and the recent discovery of Facebook offering a similar status option, and them having an API, means as soon as I've coded it my right nav will now pull my status from Facebook.

As for twitter, I've deleted my account with them, goodbye.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Facebook update

Posted by Chris @ 8:57 PM

Ok, so maybe I was a little harsh on Facebook yesterday, and a bit of a spaz as Tony put it, but to me that just highlights some of the usability issues they have on Facebook ;o) So a day in what do I think?

Well, I now have 5 7 friends, so I've started to see what the fuss is about in keeping up with what people are up to, growing your list of friends, making connections, etc. Statuses are also a nice feature, as many have eluded to it is like Twitter, but integrated into a more robust service.

Downsides? So far I've found myself clicking about, not really finding what I want, maybe that's a usability thing, maybe I expect too much from it. And I want it to integrate with the other plethora of social sites I'm already a member of. For instance if I update my status on Facebook it should post that to my twitter, or vice versa (someone says they've got this working one way, but I think the feed that made it work has been pulled from Facebook). Photos I upload to Flickr I should be able to import into Facebook (this again sounded promising, but I couldn't get it to work). Instead of asking me what music I'm into for my profile, it should pull in my last.fm profile. Now if it did all that, then it would start to be really cool. But since at the moment Facebook's own API doesn't even let me update my status through it, this kind of integration may be a way off.

But that isn't going to put me off just yet, so Facebook is my social network, to my last.fm music site, to my Flickr photo site, to my Vimeo video site, to my Blogger blogging site. This is what Web 2.0 is all about! One day, as Tony and I have discussed, there will be a website to manage all your website profiles, now that will be really cool, and obviously would need to have a killer API!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Facebook

Posted by Chris @ 8:42 PM

I've just wasted 20 minutes of my life registering and playing with Facebook. By sheer coincidence I looked at it a couple of days ago, thought that doesn't look very interesting, and went away. But today Chris started banging on about it, saying it was what all the kids were into, like MySpace and Bebo, and he was happily signed up. Paul also mentioned Tony was on there, so I figured there must be something I'm missing here, despite my reservations as to the point of it all.

Well this evening I registered on Facebook, and haven't yet been surprised by it. In fact I've found it damn frustrating. The most fundamental flaw I find with the site is adding friends. I have to enter my email address and password and it imports contacts from my GMail account (one of only a few email providers they support) and then from my contacts I pick out friends to add. WTF? I enter my email password into their site? I know this isn't unheard of, but what about a secure redirect to the email site to login, then return me to Facebook with a secure token? And the annoying thing, this is the only way to add / find friends. Seriously, where is the find by name or email option? Do I really have to add people as a contact to GMail, then import them just to see if they are on Facebook? What gives?

And adding yourself to a network isn't much better. Whilst a regional network is relatively simple, a school, college or workplace network seems to throw up barriers in the way, like entering an email address.

The only saving grace of Facebook at the moment is that it has an API, and so has some mashup potential in the future. But for now, unless I see some benefit from it once friends accept me, Facebook isn't for me. (Even so you can now find my Facebook profile top right!)

Update: Ok, so Tony and James have accepted me as a friend, and I can start to see how this can be a bit addictive, but I'm still struggling to find my way around.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bluetooth on Vista

Posted by Chris @ 2:30 PM

Well, if like me you bought a Bluetooth dongle so you could transfer files to and from your phone, and used it and the supplied BlueSoleil software on XP with no problems, you'll be annoyed, as I was, to learn that the BlueSoleil software doesn't work with Vista. Rubbish.

Luckily, BlueSoleil have recently released a new version (v3), that does work with Vista, the catch, you have to pay €15 for the pleasure. Since I paid a little under £10 for the dongle, with the supplied software, I don't really want to pay out again. So I performed a Google search, and guess what, I'm using my Bluetooth dongle on Vista, transferring files, and it is a hell of a lot better than the slightly annoying BlueSoleil software was!

The guide I used can be found here, and the only adjustment I'd make would be on step 7.1, I would add in step 7.1a; once in Safe mode, plug in your USB dongle so you will see it listed in the patcher. The rest should be fairly straight forward, use the forum if you have difficulties I guess!

Friday, May 18, 2007

I'm going to Hack Day!

Posted by Chris @ 8:59 PM

Not that I was ever in any doubt, but I'm going to the main event for geeks this year, Hack Day! I got accepted, w00t, as Anthony would say. What does this mean? It means I can accept the offer of a laptop I was given, plan the journey down, and display one of these funky Hack Day badges on my blog, geektastic!

Hack Day: London, June 16/17 2007

Now I just need to come up an idea to hack together during the event. Hmm, puts thinking cap on...

Call a general election - why?

Posted by Chris @ 1:34 PM

I'm having a rant, the reason, people's ignorance, and the press fuelling it. It is to do with politics, and the fact that ignorant people are calling for Gordon Brown to hold a general election when he takes over as Prime Minister, claiming that we should have a say in who our Prime Minister is. Erm, hang on a second you numbnuts, you have had your democratic say.

You see this is England, where we have a parliamentary party system, not a presidential system, like wot you think. What that means is that you vote a party into Government, and the elected representatives of that party, the people you voted for, then elect a leader from within that party. So you see, Gordon Brown securing enough nominations from the people you elected, to do away with a leadership contest, was done democratically. The only reason you're probably a bit put out is because a) Tony Blair has acted like a President for the past 10 years, and you've treated general elections like a presidential election, instead of voting for the MP who you think will represent your area best in Parliament or b) you didn't vote Labour in the last general election, in which case you want a general election called to hopefully kick Labour out.

The same thing happened with John Major when he became Prime Minister, it is nothing new, it is the way of party politics. Deal with it. And to the media, stop banging on about it, really, enough is enough. End of rant, now shoot me down in the comments ;o)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

External monitor on Dell Inspiron 2500 and Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

Posted by Chris @ 10:19 PM

After Anthony kindly gave me his Mum's old laptop, a Dell Inspiron 2500, I've put it to good use by getting the latest Ubuntu version (Feisty Fawn) installed on it and generally getting it setup.

One goal that has been evading my up until today however was getting the external VGA working so that it would display its lovely screen on my flashy new TV. Well after a bit of fiddling and reading about, I have got it working!

Firstly, make sure you've enabled simultaneous output through the LCD and VGA socket in the BIOS, or you will get nowhere. Secondly, avoid all the reading around I had to do and follow the steps on Ubuntu Guide here. And that's it, plug your TV (or monitor) in and give yourself a pat on the back for another job well done.

As requested, a photo...
Ubuntu running on a Dell inspiron 2500, successfully hooked up to my TV!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Website Validator

Posted by Chris @ 8:51 PM

A while back I created a website validator that took a sitemap as an input, and validated all pages in that sitemap. Well, as promised in my famed February post, and the subsequent update about the search page, I have given the sitemap website validator a face lift, and rename.

I give you the Website Validator! Back in February I said the validator “needs a complete redesign outside of this sites template, to make it useful and show what it is, not to make it fit in to my site” and I think I've achieved those aims. But as ever the proof is in the pudding, so if you've got a sitemap, give it a whirl and get your website validated in one go and let me know what you think.

What's next? Well, I think the family tree area is a bit neglected, so I may look into that, or I may sit on the sofa next to my wife and drink some beer....

Friday, May 11, 2007

Big Brother 2007 coming soon

Posted by Chris @ 9:50 PM

UPDATE: 30th of May 2007 people, check it


Check out the new eye, not long now!!
Big Brother 2007 coming soon

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'm young again!

Posted by Chris @ 7:02 PM

Yes, I've done it, through a careful regime of ignoring my face and having a shave now and again I've turned back the years and fooled one lowly checkout assistant at Tescos into IDing me for beer, hurrah!

Yep, that's right folks, the two bottles of Tsingtao beer (a very nice Chinese beer) in our entire weekly shop (Dawn was at the spa by the way) was all that was needed to prompt the youngster to go asking my age. It was with some glee I got out my driving license, passed it to him, and watched him squirm as he realised I was 26 years old, oh the sweet joy.

Chris - don't call me punk - Hill had a similar experience at his local Coop last July.