Friday, August 03, 2007

Fish pirates

Rory Blyth is a no good fish pirate.

That's it, that's all I have to say at this stage.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Thanks Google!

About a month or so back I got an email from Google asking for feedback on their AdSense network. Now I've tried it in a couple of places (here and on another blog which I was trialling some ideas out on), so I thought, yeah there's a couple of things that I'd like to say about my experiences and what I thought about their product (which I like by the way).


So I gave my feedback on the survey and promptly forgot about it, till this morning when a package arived for me from Google... Getting very curious while opening this box imagine my surprise when I open it to find a new 80GB iPod!!! :-) I'd been selected to receive 1 of 4 iPods as thanks for giving feedback! How cool is that!


Now I do already have an iPod, though it's a 2nd gen with only 15GB, which doesn't keep it's battery charge so thankyou Google!



B

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back in the UK

Just a real quick post to say hi to everyone and let you all know that we've arrived safe and sound back in the UK, now comes the joy and fun of starting our 'real lives' again.. ;-)


Was an absolute blast spending the last 7 months with everyone, got to see most of you on more than one occasion and I wish all of you lots of fun on your life journeys!


B

Friday, June 22, 2007

Inspirational quote

"It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it."
- Arnold Toynbee


Saw this on my google homepage this morning (I like quotes of the day), myself though I think the phrasing of:
"Aim for the moon, so you may reach the sky"
sums it up more succinctly.

B

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The future of news

A fascinating piece on the future of news publishing produced as though it is from 2014... Very cool, watch it.

EPIC 2014

Monday, April 30, 2007

Got my passport back!!

Yay! I'm now allowed back into the UK!! :-) And it now looks like me!

Though had to laugh, cause the guy at the post office asked if I'd been on the biggest loser?!?! Not sure if I should be insulted or just laugh.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Skype = Ok ... ish

Well I got a response from Skype, and while they have lots of excellent reasons for expiring my credit within 180 days (please review our Terms of Service), they have reviewed my case and are re-instating the credit, so Yay!

I still am not happy that they've got the 180 day limit, and have tried to register my concern/complaint/issues in a reasonably polite and friendly way, basically trying to say, yes you're a business as such you can pretty much do as you like, I think you should change what you're doing though cause as a customer I'm more likely to go with someone else if you don't. Of course I'm a minor customer so I don't really know how much they'll really care. I mean in the last year I've only spent 3-4 euros... Definitely on the minor side.

Also I don't like this use of the term 'credit', I think of it as I am purchasing a product, the product isn't the right to call a phone, I am pre-purchasing that phonecall! So if I want to call someone 2 years down the track, you should allow me to! At least that's my opinion, of course commercial reality is something completely different.

Anyways here's that email that I sent back:
Hello Rando,

Just wanted to say thank you for reviewing my case and re-instating my credit. Also thank you for the details on the expiry, I understand why you've imposed that limitation, I was surprised at it being only 180 days. Realising that it's Skype's prerogative to set it's Terms of Service, can you record somewhere that I at least think that it should be of a longer duration? (also what happens to that unclaimed credit? [I've been unable to find any details of where it goes on the Skype pages])

Also want to request that more detailed information be supplied on the 'Help' section of your website, searching for 'Balance Expiration' I was only able to find http://support.skype.com/index.php?_a=knowledgebase&_j=questiondetails&_i=38 which was about 20 or so items down, and didn't provide much detail. Namely what happens after the expiry? (This is a rhetorical question, as I now know what happens, point is that the help section is unclear).

Again thank you for your response, I look forward to continuing to use Skype and will make sure I make use of the phone calls at least once every 180 days.

Sincerely,
Andrew Bickerton

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Skype = Bad

Just found out something today, kinda my fault (debatable though), but also makes me not like Skype very much at the moment.

A while back (September 27, 2006 to be exact), I purchased some Skype credit so that I could make some cheap calls from South America... Very useful, loved the facility.

Fast forward a bit, now we're in Australia, so happens that I don't have a complete Skype setup, missing a fairly crucial component of a microphone, so while Skype would be fantastic and cheap, I can't use it (my own slackness for not getting a mike, but it's not too long till we'll be back in the UK where I have all that stuff).

Add to this, I have a bunch of email addresses that I very infrequently check, basically they're spam catchers. So whenever I sign up to stuff on the web, or can possibly expose my email address, I use one of those addresses. This is what I did with Skype.

Now we get into the why I think Skype = Bad. I found out today that the 9.59 That I had left on my account, is no longer there, searching around all over the place, I just find obscure references to 'Balance Expiration'. Hmmm... what does that mean? More searching, and I find in the help page (about 20 or so items down) a page titled 'Why does My Account page show an expiration date?' (I don't check my account page often, and don't recall seeing an expiration date on the skype window..) which refers to:
The Skype credit balance expires after 180 days of inactivity. As soon you succesfully connect a SkypeOut call your expiration date will reset to 180 days. It can take up to 10 days for your expiration date to reset after placing a call.

30 days before your expiry date Skype will send an email to your registered email address to remind you to place a call so that you do not loose your Skype credits.


oh! I must of missed/forgot a term, and 'cause I don't check that email address... feck! So login, and sure enough there's 4 emails:
  • You're going to lose your credit in 30 days
  • 7 days
  • 3 days
  • You've lost it
Feck! Ok, Skype tried to notify me, but goddamn it, that's my credit, my money, it pisses me off that they've now taken it and not allowed me to continue to use it! If they want to remove it, fine allow me to claim it back. Oh and 180 days is NOT enough time, here in Aus at least statue of limitations is 7 years, not half a year.

I will contact Skype and there's probably a good chance they'll refund or reinstate my credit, but to be honest it'll still leave a bad taste in my mouth. I think I'll start looking at other voip providers, one's who don't steal my money without delivering.

B

Grumpy today

Woke up feeling grumpy today, and the day just seems to be getting me more agrivated. This morning had one of the semi-clients approach me with some work that needed some maintenance (code that I'd never touched before), as the main dev was away.

Basically turned out that two sections of code should of been the same, but they weren't. So I'm asking which section is right, and just getting 'I don't know', 'the client needs it now', and generally just arguing with me on which part of the code the problem is introduced from.

In the end I just said stuff it, he wants me to make section b total up from the rows in section a. Copy & Paste, his problem now. No idea why they were different, for all I know section b was the correct one, officially not my problem.

Like I said, grumpy today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Newsgator is down

I've realised that while I like having an external blog reader (I can check it from any pc), there is one kinda big problem with doing that.

When it falls over I can't check my blogs, I can't even remember half of the web addresses now... This is what's happening now (on: Newsgator home page):

We're sorry...

NewsGator has experienced an unexpected issue responding to your request. A notification has automatically been sent to our support team.

Please try the following:
.... blah, blah, blah

Frustrating, now to see if I can remember the various sites. Oh and speaking as someone who has been a Release Manager for a reasonably sized website (well bunch of)... Ouch! This has got to be frustrating (and this is why you always have a rollback plan!)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Book club

I've been thinking of joining a book club... I now have an extra reason to do so:

"Manager: Instead of wine night, we call it 'book club.'"


From: Overheard in the Office

Thursday, April 19, 2007

iTunes, the bad & the good

As some know I have an iPod, as I've travelled around it has been indespensible.. Great for being able to get to sleep in a noisy dorm room in any country (like when the guy in the next dorm is watching to porn on his portable dvd player without headphones - eeww!)

But when it comes to putting music on the iPod and managing what's there for my listening pleasure, there really is only iTunes, I've tried playing with other music software (Winamp does a good job, XPlay allows you to 'mostly' use Windows Media Player).. But for completeness there really isn't anything except iTunes (and it pains me a little to say that)...

Apple has locked me, I can't really chose my software, the user interface is clunkier than Winamp, it uses more system resources, it installs other software (Quicktime) without your choice, and it always runs in the background (you need to know the registry keys or how to use the Services area to kill it properly, and it'll still be back on the next upgrade. There are a bunch of annoying issues with it....

But there's also a lot of stuff that 'just works', for example podcasts. I subscribe through iTunes for podcasts, I can then listen to them on way to and from work. When I get to my pc and plug in the iPod, all by itself it removes the ones I've already listened to and grabs the new shows I haven't heard yet... it. just. works. Winamp has a reasonably good podcast subscription option, but for me it didn't just work, I found I had to find extra plugins, and then manually handle the add/remove of shows (it wouldn't automatically remove podcasts I'd already listened to, either on my pc or on the iPod)....

Like I've said, there's plenty of reasons I don't like iTunes & Apple, but at the end of the day I can 'get around' those issues, for the podcasts and the fact that they just work, makes up a hell of a lot for those issues. Of course as soon as Winamp shows me it just works, I'm switching though. :-)

B

Monday, April 16, 2007

I got to play Jesus :-)

Went to see a couple of comedy shows (as it's the Melbourne Comedy Festival at the moment), and one of them was a very a odd guy, Evan Jones - Extravaganza Pandemonium and Comic Spectacular, where I got to appear in the show (teaches me for sitting in the front row directly in front of a spot light) as Jesus :-)

On a completely different note, we've been back from Brisbane for about a week now, still haven't uploaded any of the photos but will do that soon.

Now to figure out what we're going to see next, see so far:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I HAS A BUCKET!

A friend got real curious about what was on Dora's t-shirt on Questionable Content and did some searching and found this:
B

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Sways and Spam

Got an email from a really cool band (The Sways) this morning, that brought a smile to my face... Unfortunately won't be able to make it to any of their upcoming gigs... But in a few months, maybe.... ;-)

Dear Sirs,

I am contacting you on behalf of band The Sways with a proposition that I hope you will find of financial business interest. Please excuse impersonal fashion of this contact but I know it will be of interest to you. A few years ago when band The Sways were riding high on successful merchandising sales in Japan, they deposit a large quantity of cash, 24 USD, in a bank account of which I am the manager and of which only I know the existence. I hear nothing of them now for many years and presume dead. However, I see that some copy band also called The Sways will play a gig at the Green Note on Parkway in Camden on Friday 30th March. Only £5, beginning 9pm. I am in need of reliable partners to come and buy me pints of organic lager all evening, while making most of intimate setting, fine vegetable food and weirdy folk of the Zetland Players. They play again in duo form on April 4 at Rhino Club in Southampton with Kat Vipers and Caroline's Capuchin! So more lager! I know I can trust you to keep this email in confidence, and not forward to anyone.

Looking in greatest expectation to our partnership!

All above-board, please see:
www.thesways.co.uk
www.myspace.com/thesways
www.greennote.co.uk
www.myspace.com/thezetlandplayers
www.myspace.om/subsonicpromotions


If you're in the area highly recommend going and seeing them!

B

Monday, March 26, 2007

Stretched

Feeling a bit stretched today, for various reasons have not been focusing completely on all my tasks over the last couple of weeks.... And now they're starting to bite back.

All will be good in the end, and each task doesn't really matter that much, but still... Just knowing got X to do in Y time, and X > Y... Oh well, what needs to get done will get done or not.

Got to keep reminding myself at moments like these that there are some things that are just a whole lot more important, and not to get stressed about the little things. Of course figuring out what's a little thing is also useful too. :-)

So endeth my extremely useless post.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cool message

Saw this on Post Secret, and liked the sentiment... Oh, and Post Secret for those that don't know is a very interesting and cool idea, go check it out.
I no longer know where my life is heading, but I don't care, as long as she's riding shotgun.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

{proof} & hello

Random hello and what is this blog really for?

Just a quick email to say hello to whoever is still actually reading this random blog... It's been a while since I have properly updated it, and I kind of need to figure out what I'm going to do with it...


Because myself and Cath now have a seperate blog which has all the travel stories and the where are we at in our lives bits (well more on the travel side at the moment), I don't really see much point in putting that kind of stuff down here.. Though I don't really want to throw this blog away, it's been fun to write stuff down and share it with friends & family...


Besides I like have a place where I can just rant about something, it can be as inane as how the kebabs in the UK are nothing like the kebabs in Australia, or check out this cool site.. Which gets me onto what I'm thinking about writing (dunno if I'll do this regular or not though), which is just a short movie review ('cause I like movies)



{proof}

It's a great movie, go see it!


Do you think that's a short enough review? ;-) All joking aside, if you at liked A beautiful mind you will love this one, to give you a quick summary of the plot, it's basically about the relationship between a very talented mathematician (who has a psychological illness) and his daughter, though the films opens after his death. It is not too heavy though with many funny and light-hearted moments..


See if with a couple of friends (or your partner) with a bottle of wine. You don't need to be a maths geek to love it (but it might help)


Oh and small warning, though this movie shares the same title, it is not the same script as the Australian movie (also a movie adaption of a play) called Proof


B

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Blogger

Just trying out the new blogger, and seeing what it looks like.. So far seem reasonably nice. :-)



Sorry for being so crap in posting... I assume everyone is now reading our new blog, rather than this old one... Of course I'll probably still post up some random stuff here occasionally, but it'll most likely be more geek than anything else.



Have fun!