Archive for March, 2005

Bumper, lamp post, fill in the blanks

Wednesday, March 30th, 2005 | Life

You know I keep getting told everyone makes mistakes when they first learn to drive. But I always thought a mistake was like getting in the wrong lane or forgetting to signal. What I didn’t consider was rolling it into a lamp post and putting a giant crack down the middle of the bumper.

As you can probably guess that is pretty much what happened. Forgetting the estate car is slightly bigger than the Nissan Micra I learned to drive in, I tried to 3 point turn it and got the car adjacent to the road and with the front end smashed into a lamp post. I could really use one of those swallowing up holes right now.

Luckily I got all my work done earlier so I can hold a late night Dawson’s Creek marathon and hopefully by the end of it I will be too tired to care. I actually started getting back into DC over the weekend. Went through the key episodes of the first series and started on the second.

Well I say key episodes; I really mean just random ones that are cool. Strangely enough I missed episode 108, Detention because I just wasn’t in the mood for some reason. It’s usually one of my favorite episodes. Anyway enough said.

Red Nose Rider

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005 | Video

This some footage I originally shot to put together on a DVD but this late after Red Nose day (I didn’t have time despite my efforts to get it ready on the day) there seems little point. The footage, which is of JT’s effort towards the day in the form of a sponsered cyclathon (which raised quite a bit of money I beleive), is too valuable to go to waste so I thought I would share it with you lot.

Sorry, this video is no longer available.

As it happens this is the first video blog of 2005.

Why The Simpsons should stay

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005 | Life

Ok I have seen people talking about wanting to get The Simpsons cancelled. I have even seen a petition – what is that about!?! The Simpsons rules! More importantly is a legend and I have three reasons why it shouldn’t be cancelled. You may not agree with, that’s fine but just know that you are wrong ;).

First of all, even, let’s say that, The Simpsons is dumbing down. That isn’t going to be fixed by Fox pulling the plug. You want to express this, write in to Fox or Matt Groening and tell them! Don’t just say I want the show cancelled, do something about the problem.

Secondly, I have heard a lot of complaints about the shows being edited, punch lines being cut out, etc – that is a problem for you in the US with your advert breaks every five minutes. It isn’t a problem for us in the rest of the world, don’t lumber your problems on us.

Finally, The Simpsons is a legend. It’s part of our culture. I mean we hold a celebrity polls and fictional characters are beating real people. When socialising I use nothing but a string of Simpsons, Futurama and Family Guy quotes. It’s the only show I know of that gets 4-5 prime time slots per night! Are you willing to let that fade into the past?

The Open Road

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005 | Life

Well finally the insurance started on my car. Well my parents but meh. The important thing is that I can finally drive it now which I have been doing for most the day. It is hideously big but once I got used it to it seemed easy enough. That said I haven’t actually tried to park it yet other than driving into the drive.

So far no real problems, kind of. None that I plan to admit to on the open forum of the internet anyway ;). There are differences between the Ford Mondeo estate and the Nissan Micra I learned to drive in though (size is too obvious to be listed). First of all the view from the rear mirror is smaller as you see the car frame due to it being so far back.

Second the engine is much more powerful. I am hardly pressing the accelerator in 3rd gear and I am struggling to keep to the 30 miles per hour speed limit. It is going to take some time for me to get used to the power of the car.

Overall though I am actually enjoying driving now. I realize this is just a novelty that will soon ware off but learning to drive pretty much sucked. Now it is actually good to drive. If I experienced emotions I would even call it fun.

Results of my forth driving test

Saturday, March 19th, 2005 | Life

Today I am a man of few words…

Sorry, this image is no longer available, but for reference it was a photo of my driving test pass certificate.

You know, you would think this would be the best news I would have had all day. But The Bourne Identity arrived on DVD so I’m torn now ;).

Coming adventures of Trillian 3

Friday, March 18th, 2005 | Life

I am not sure how I got on the subject, but the idea came
into my head that I should purchase the pro version of Trillian, the instant
messenger that I use. It is far better than any of the software that you losers
use as I can connect to all my accounts at once. MSN, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo, the list
goes on. Actually that is pretty much it but it also supports IRC.

Anyway at $25 for the software and a years worth of support
and upgrades it would take considerable skill to go wrong. Plus on top of that,
Trillian 3 is now out sporting a whole new load of features so I am thinking
that it is going to be worth my money once I get it installed.

One of the most notable features is the video options. It supports both audio and video conversations, I presume just to people with MSN and Yahoo as these are the only ones I know support it. But the options available in it rock – you can have side by side video, picture in picture, pause and rewind video it looks awesome.

Still the real test will come when I get everything installed and setup. I will probably install some plugins to play around with them and maybe the odd skin although usually I just prefer the default. Anyway I will post more when I’ve played around with it.

Looks who’s come crawling back

Thursday, March 17th, 2005 | Life

I am currently flicking though issue 109 of the SitePoint Tech Times newsletter that arrived in my inbox in the early hours of this morning. The first feature in this issue was details leaked about what features Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer 7 browser will feature. Most importantly, tabs. Well, well, looks who has come crawling back :D.

You can try and ignore the other browsers if you wish but it won’t get anywhere. That said, I didn’t expect Microsoft to make the move. I mean sure all the other browsers are doing it and tabs are good. But Microsoft has never been one to follow others. Wait what I am I saying, this software runs on an operating system that basically cloned Mac’s graphical interface. Ok this is turning into Microsoft bashing, time to get back on my thoughts about the browser.

The thing is, no tabs set Internet Explorer apart from other browsers, it made it different. I don’t want yet another identical browser. I would prefer it if they spent the time making the browser standards compliant, I’m tired of having to write cross browser compatible sites – if the software creators would get their act together I wouldn’t have to.

An RSS reader is also welcome. Mozilla doesn’t even have one (well actually I don’t know about the full Mozilla suite but Firefox doesn’t). I had to go install Sage to read my RSS in Firefox. It does display RSS feeds pretty well though; I can’t remember how Internet Explorer deals with them. Hopefully though IE7 will be more standards compliant, there have been some questions raised over CSS2 support.

Moaning about my lack of ability to freeze time

Thursday, March 10th, 2005 | Life

I’m tired. I need sleep! Too much to do though. I managed to drag myself away from WoW at around 8 pm to get some work done on a new script though I didn’t start doing my real world until about 10 or something. I needed to sort some screen captures for Hex Series out and a load of other jobs. Only some of them got done.

I still have loads to do though. I was hoping to get to bed before midnight though I am not holding out too much hope anymore. Bah, why did I have to create so many daily news sites? This is somehow everyone’s fault but mine. Possibly Ms Wood’s, I do need a good old fashioned lawsuit against someone.

I got my exam results today. For my law exam which was the important one, I got a B – not a good thing. I need at least 1 A to get into the university I want to go to. For the two re-sits I did, I got a C in media though at least it is an improvement on my old mark and I got an A in law. Not brilliant but what can you do.

Still I guess I could do something in the form of work. I have loads of coursework to do and loads going on at the moment. I have a day at Central Lancashire coming up this Saturday and the Saturday after I have yet another driving test. Fun.

Stuff that happens that I talk about

Sunday, March 6th, 2005 | Life

Ok so it’s Mothers Day. Panic. Actually I’m half sorted, myself and my sister got my mother Alfie on DVD. The twist here – she doesn’t have a DVD player. Not our fault though, she was dropping hints. A VHS transfer would be nice but all the VCR’s in our house are messed up and none can produce a watchable quality video.

That’s the state of crap electronics these days. Nobody builds stuff to last. That is another rant but let’s just say that I hope certain people at certain companies get hit by cars and killed. Anyway, there is a lot of other stuff going on at the moment. I have coursework deadlines in like 2 weeks for units that we have only just started. That is traditional Temple Moor planning for you.

I also have this big to-do list. The new script that I am developing as part of Particle Soft’s range of cool web applications and stuff will be finished soon, hopefully by the end of today. That said I also have a lot of other websites to work on.

There are several domains I have registered ready for development although I plan to use the new script to power them which gives me an excuse why they haven’t got anything done on them yet. Still, I also need to finish off Hex Series which is now in public beta but still has a few pages that need doing.

You don’t really think we have democracy do you?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005 | Life

Sitting at a school computer earlier today, I found my attempts to do the research assignment we were carrying out in the lesson thwarted once again by DDR – that stands for dynamic document filter. The automated internet censorship board of Leeds Learning Network. It stops us researching "violence" in media, the legality of "prostitution" in law and "sexual" harassment in business studies.

The most ironic thing about it – it can be turned off. It will be disabled at the schools request. This would seem to fit in nicely with the recently formed school council. An internal exercise in democracy that allows for pupils to put their views forward and raise the issues important to them. I don’t think so.

In reality the school council is one of two things. It is either a good idea with an execution that is simply beyond bad and backed up my traditional Temple Moor competence. Or it is nothing more than a PR operation designed to show outsiders how innovated the school is when in fact it is nothing more than a debate group with a set agenda coming from the powers that be.

Never once have I had one of the issues successfully raised. Not that I would know if I had. The meetings are closed to all but the select few who were assigned to it, nobody else can even sit at the sidelines and watch. As for outflow, the group seems to be somewhat of a black hole of information, leaving no trace of the decisions that were made.

I cannot say with certainly which of the possible thoughts the school council was a product of. But either way it is lacking the infrastructure and motivation needed for success. Our own democracy takes criticism at the best of time. So what good will a mere attempt at the system do?

Parliament struggle to get through all the legislation and issues that need to be debated. So how can the council debate everything in a 30 minute meeting every few months? MP’s take up the issues of their constituents. Yet why would the counsel representatives when there is no elections of wish to stay in power? How will they even know the views of the students when there are no channels set-up to provide them with this information?

I saw another example of the incompetency of the council recently. A few A4 posters appeared about "lunch survey week." But there was no information on them. No information passed down through our forms or through our representatives. Just a poster with half a dozen words on it. What is the point?

To be frank, the school council is a joke. It is badly organised, badly run and exists to do nothing more than to make us feel like our voices are heard when really we have never suffered such an oppressive attitude. It is a PR exercise for the school to make it look like it is listening when our issues are never heard. It is an actual fact for us – a complete waste of time.