Sep
03
2008

Digital life

The idea of a Digital life as I see it is a really really cool (most importantly, useful) thing. I would always define this as having all the data you want and need very accessible to you at as close to all times as is possible.

So this is photos, videos, music, e-mail, the web, contacts, calendars, instant communication etc searchable, accessible, available all the time.

This is something thanks to our modern computing generation we are getting closer and closer to this, however, much as I try, this is still a very very complicated goal to achieve.

For example, all my photos, music, videos, contacts, calendars etc are all on my computer. I have done a fair bit of tagging of my photos based on events and people in them, this makes that data searchable. So, lets pretend I’m looking for some info on Demelza. So I type her name into my computer as a search term. That then spits back all the photos with her in, any videos she might be in, her contact sheet in outlook which contains a profile picture, her phone numbers, addresses, e-mail address. I get back any calendar events she has been tagged to, like me visiting her at home this coming week. I also get any chat logs we have between us on MSN.

Not bad going, that’s my computer fairly sorted. I also carry my phone with me which contains my full calendar, my full contacts list. I also have my task list, my notes, and although I don’t bother for reasons that become clear, I could have my favourites too. My phone also has access to most of my e-mails as my e-mails are mainly IMAP accounts. This means the e-mails themselves stay online and whatever device I’m on just contacts to them, so be that my phone, my computer, my laptop or even webmail, they remain the same for all.

Bookmarks is a tricky one, or even my Firefox session. I’m looking at ways to have all my bookmarks tag-able, searchable online so I can get to them everywhere.

I also did look at having my MSN chat logs online (behind a password) so I could get them from anywhere and again search them. This turned out to be a lot more complicated than you would have though, I also have my logs on my phone, computer and laptop for all IM logged separately with no way as yet to search them all at the same time.

So most of this has come a long way, however it didn’t get there quickly, nor was it easy. In the last year I have taken about 9,000 photos, all of which needs to be tagged for this to work. I have maybe a weeks worth of work on them to clear the backlog.

The technology is just about caught up with what’s need, but its still not easy enough, fast enough or useful enough. I still don’t have all my files available to me from anywhere. I could remote in but that’s not quite the same, I could access the files in their directories but that wouldn’t give me access to all the nice search data i want.

I think i have even forgotten where this post was going, maybe I’m just trying to explain that at the moment, keeping track of your data is a nightmare.

Sep
02
2008

Windows Live Mail

Filters are very very helpful. In the full Outlook I use them to allow me to sort my e-mails into folders etc depending on what they are, who they are from, who they are to etc. Windows live mail (AKA Hotmail) also allows me to do this, however there is one very very important feature missing. In the full fat client I can run a new rule on existing e-mails. So if I decide I want to sort my e-mails in a slightly different way this is very easy to completely change the structure of my inbox despite there being goodness knows how many thousands of e-mails. In Live these rules I create only apply to new e-mails! Argh, maybe I wont sort my Live account then…

Sep
01
2008

Picture memory

I did a terrible terrible thing this weekend. I went to Nicolas farewell/Christmas party before leaves for South Africa… That’s not the bad party, that was the great part, the bad part was I actually forgot my camera! It’s not like it’s small, it’s not like it wasn’t charged, ready and on my bed…. People actually asked me if I was feeling unwell when I got to the party, such is magnitude of this uncharacteristic display of forgetfulness.

My camera kit these days is about a grands worth, and for all that money, it really seems pointless when you leave it on your bed! Ah well, there is always next time…

Aug
25
2008

Speed distractions

I really don’t understand the point behind speed cameras. You see, they put them at junctions and accident blackspots etc. So these are places where they had lots of accidents in the past before they put a camera up. Then, in their infinite wisdom they put up a speed camera. Now most people don’t really want to get caught for speeding (or anything for that mater) and as we all tend to let our speed creep as we have other things to worry about we all almost always focus intently on our speed as we come up to cameras. So now we have a dangerous place with everyone focusing on their speed and specifically their speedometers. Now burying your head in the dash strikes me as a very good way to well, err, bury your head in the dash. Now the most odd part is the government admit, it really doesn’t make much money from the things. It’s like those thing that tell you your speed. As soon as they flash up “SLOW DOWN” people do… BY JABBING THE BREAKS!

Now I will admit, I have been caught speeding in the past by a camera. I can’t complain I was caught, I was going over the limit and I cant make too much excuses for it, however I can say one thing. I was caught because I was too busy focusing on traffic. Had I noticed the camera then that concentration would have no doubt shifted to the camera.

Aug
22
2008

How can this be true?

I have just realised I have waaaaaay too many clothes. How can this be even remotely possible? For starters, I’m male so clearly I don’t need many, secondly, it’s not like I have some form of exciting dress sense or any grasp of style. I have a wardrobe in my parents house and my room in Brighton. The one in Horsham contains 38 hanging items, plus another 30ish T-shirts, 5 pairs of shorts, 7 or 8 trousers. The one in Brighton to be fair is pretty empty, but still, how has this all crept up on me?

I guess this is what happens when you have a work wardrobe and a non-work/uni wardrobe. They have very clear distinction and yet both have and will continue to take up vast amounts of my time. I will always change after work into anything else and I will never start wearing a shirt at the weekend (if I start wearing shirts to church on a Sunday morning you have my permission to shoot me).

Jul
06
2008

Japan – The trip that wasn’t

OK, so this whole going to Japan thing failed badly. Basically, our flights went via Rome. My Brother came off the (late) first flight and decided he really really didn’t want to go on a flight to Japan. To be fair the flight over wasn’t great, one of my worst. So after a few panic calls home etc he made the final call he wasn’t going. So clearly I wasn’t either. So I had the bag pulled from the flight and we had to work out how to get home. I got the return tickets converted into return on the next flight home we could ones. Unfortunately it was 10pm at this point and the next flight was at 8pm the next day.

Observations from 24hours in an Italian airport:

  • People have enough bags with them to move house. I don’t understand how almost everyone has 3 HUGE bags… They must all be really really well connected drug smugglers.
  • They make you go through security to go airside when you change flights. Last I looked you were airside when you get off the plane. I think it’s all part of a cunning plan to steal yet more of your drinks based on the fact that I didn’t care enough to put up a fight for then.
  • VISA cards work sporadically at best. About 1 in 10.
  • Everyone speaks about enough English that you can get by with no Italian.
  • There are very few British.
  • There is only one shop that sells sandwiches and alike. The Italians tried to apply their love of long meals and good food to the airport. As one might have expected, it was destined to fail. Give me a WHSmiths sandwich any day.
  • People just don’t queue! God damn you people, do not try to queue jump me when I have had 3 hours sleep.
  • There is simply nothing to do. You can pace the shops, you can browse the shops, but you will be left with nothing but clock-watching in an hour tops.
  • Finding somewhere to sleep is hard. Most of the seats have immovable armrests. I call this one of the most stupid ideas ever! Especially given the number of people staying overnight.
  • When you ask the guy in the café how long he is open and he says all night, alarm bells should go off in your head when bedding down near it.
  • It’s amazingly hot and stuffy in here all the time. This certainly does get annoying. Also, the cooler air moves round. Following it is impossible.
  • Drinks are scarily expensive
  • No-one sells sweets
  • Free WiFi is nonexistent here too (so not just Gatwick) But the pay option is very good value, €15 for 5hours no bandwidth limit. However, the sign-up page is broken.
  • Italian fast food that isn’t pizza is foul. Not just tasteless, bland and pointless, but actually foul. McDonalds puts it to shame. This is not a good thing.
  • They seem to have a fascination with having their bags “security wrapped” which means covering it in slightly tinted cellophane. At €8 a pop this is very expensive for something no-one cares about. Hell, my bag isn’t even locked.
  • People seem to have this stupid way of fanning themselves with their hands. It just plane doesn’t work. I don’t get why they keep doing it.
  • Airside becomes a distant memory after the first few hours.
  • The only currency exchange is airside.
  • Digital cameras here really are quite good prices.
  • They actually have bins here. As in actually inside the airport itself! This is something that needs sorting out in Heathrow. I couldn’t find a single one in Terminal 2. I ended up using the “you can’t have this bottle over 100ml, it might blow up” one at security on the way through. Not helpful.

I think it would be safe to say I’m fed up of this place. Another 3 and a half hours until we can finally check-in and get the excitement of going through security and then a whole new place to explore, wander round, grow tiered of.

At T-minus 6hours till leaving I have come to realise some people here are very trusting. Some guy came over, plugged in his phone next to me and then asked me in Italian if I spoke Italian. Now to me that seems a little silly, but guess you have to start somewhere… And it’s not like I didn’t understand. He then said in his best English, he was going to the bar, could I watch his phone. Clearly I either had that kind, caring, compassionate, trusting look, or I looked like I wasn’t going anywhere fast. Anyway, he is gone and doesn’t look like he will be coming back anytime soon. Meh.

T-minus 4hours 30. This place is driving me insane. I can’t stand being stuck here. I’m trying not to clock watch but I can’t help it. I don’t get how people can make it through things like prison and being a long term hostage. An airport has reduced me to lifeless, bored and desperate for something new. How on earth can people get through years being in a mud hut. Bear in mind I have a laptop, phone, mp3 player and enough money. Perhaps this is more me than anything else. I know I have a very short attention span. I get bored easily and move on in my interests and focus as often as some people think. Apparently I am destined to have large boring open spaces as my weakness.

T-minus 4hours or something. Why aren’t their plug sockets everywhere? This strikes me as strange if I’m ignoring the more blunt “insane”, “stupid”, “idiotic” and “useless”. As far as I can tell, there is 1 for all the passengers. Well, to be fair it’s a bank of 3, but the point remains. Since I’ve been here I’ve used it for my phone and laptop, there have been 3 more laptops and 5 or 6 phones. Clearly in this modern day and age when people normally carry at least one battery hungry device on them the transport industry needs to catch up. Some planes and some classes have them, but paying first class for a plug is a bit OOT. Long distance trains have them, that’s a start. Had I remembered this for my trip down to Cornwall I would have just bought my laptop and a couple of DVD’s with me. It’s in the same vein as free WiFi. It should be deemed a basic service in our ever more connected world. As a side note, I’ve taken to writing in here and walks round the terminal to keep me sane.

OK, I’m now back in the UK having had a slightly interesting end to that joke of a trip. Basically, when I realized we needed to come back I went to the desk and asked them to do what they could. They printed my return ticks for a week and a bits time and changed them to the Friday. Due to a miss-understanding, bad hand-writing and someone on the desk not having their head screwed on correctly, I realized that our flight was in fact 35mins from then. At this point I did a lot of running and frantically checking in. Going through security is always going to be a joke, especially when you have a laptop, and large digital camera. We then ran through yet more terminal, onto a mono-rail, then through yet more terminal only to find the flight was delayed by half an hour or so. To be fair, probably because they had to put my bag on, but their fault, the check-in was still open.

Anyway, now home I’ve been fixing my blog, catching up on sleep and generally trying to do things…

That was an experiment I have no wish to repeat again anytime soon.

Jun
25
2008

Waiting

I’ve been waiting at Paddington’s underground station for over 5mins for a train and I’m already very adgitated. Not sure if this says more about what being back in London does to you or more about the normal service here… If these people hurry it up I might make the last but one train home and not be pinning all my hopes on the last.

In other news, mobile internet is a good way to pass 5+ hours on trains.

Jun
11
2008

I just had to

I feel like a dirty person, I just used a read receipt in an e-mail. Please world, forgive me!

Jun
11
2008

Where am I?

OK, my summer is complicated. Complicated and very busy.

I plan to see a lot of friends in this time, spend a lot of time with Demelza and travel a bit.

As such, I present you, the Craig’s whereabouts dates list.

  • Leave Brighton for the summer:
    • Friday 13th June or Saturday 14th June
  • Visit Demelza and her Family in Cornwall:
    • Monday 16th June to Wednesday 25th June
  • Goto Japan with my brother on an architecture sightseeing trip:
    • Thursday 3rd July to Saturday 12th July
  • Pick Demelza up from her graduation to stay with me in Horsham:
    • Friday 25th July
  • Goto France with Demelza to visit my Family on holiday there:
    • Wednesday 30th July to Wednesday 6th August
  • Beth and Jonners wedding:
    • Saturday 9th August
  • Demelza leaves Horsham:
    • Wednesday 13th August or Thursday 14th August

In between these dates I should probably be in Horsham, although I do need to come to Brighton an help with the moving into a new house just down the road. We need to fit shelves, notice boards, network infrastructure etc which is going to take several days plus time to measure up and buy things. I may also put another trip to Cornwall in there too, just before Demelza starts her course.

So if you think you haven’t seen me in a while… shout at me and I will tell you in more detail where I am.

May
12
2008

What has the world come to

I just picked up up the post as it came through the door. We live at number 69, one of the items was for 67. I opened the door, called out to the postman and said one of them was for 67. He then went “Oh, do you happen to know where 67 is?”. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Apr
30
2008

*crack*

“I should really get going” *huge crack of thunder outside* ever get the feeling someone is making a point….

Feb
29
2008

Mind==explode

It would be safe to say I have a lot on my mind at the moment. For starters, I have recently noticed I’m going into the IT industry… This means I can do pretty much any job that requires a computer. Thanks to my year in industry working for a big American bank I just assumed I would slot back into one of those, after all, hours are good, company is big and job security is high not to mention pay is very good. However, I could also go work for a charity and end up running their IT systems, or could go into the education industry, either lecturing or running their systems, after all I have enough experience at the latter. In fact, I’m slightly scared and at the same time very comforted by this thought, especially given I’m not exactly putting my all into my course at the moment. In fact I may be pushed into some interesting decisions soon, some that I never expected… then again, a lot has happened this year I didn’t expect and its far from all bad.

As for some of the things on my mind. Well here things really do get complicated. Basically Demelza’s laptop failed on Monday night. I arranged for a Jonner’s to go round and attack it with Linux live CD and see what he could do. The answer wasn’t much. I went up Tuesday night and had a look at it. It didn’t look good. I stayed the night and left her with my laptop to keep her working. So Wednesday night I had a bit more of look with the very proactive assistance from Will and Nick. Now we come to Thursday. I planned to get up early but clearly this conspired against me as I was woken by Will at 10:30. We made our way into Sussex campus to collect an adapter to plug the drive into. This idea also failed. Then it so happened that Fouad at the labs had an almost identical disk. So after a bit of analysis we thought swapping the controller boards over may help. However this required a screwdriver bit no-one had. So, as it was lunch time, road trip home with Fouad, Dan, Myself and Will. After a spot of lunch in he rain back on campus we made the swap. Still no luck. From here myself and Will left for town with a big list of places to ask who may do data recovery. Although many of them did this issue is fairly well beyond most of them. So with a couple of other items from the list like mother day gifts complete we made our way home where this evening we have been very lazy as both of us are pretty dead from the day (along with the rest of the house).

Tomorrow should be interesting (well, Today now). Fouad is driving home tomorrow morning where home happens to be north London and home to the top entry on a Google search for data recovery. So I phoned them this evening and I’m going to drop the drive off with them so they can tell me just how bad it really is (I have a pretty good idea and there is a slim chance they can get the data back, but I’m not getting my hopes up in case). From there I will be going to Roehampton to find Demelza and then will be going back to Horsham for the weekend so she can finally meet my family. Her stress levels must be through the roof. As it is mine are and it’s not even my data and I know my family pretty well at this point.

A lot of my stress level is can be attributed to the fact that as a fairly OK person in the realm of fixing computers, I’m not used to not being able to fix it, especially when it’s this important (the data is what I would call mission critical).

So all in all, not great at all.

Sleep time me thinks, I have to be out at 9 when my lift arrives.

Feb
19
2008

Random update

Life is plodding on rather well in my ever so humble opinion. Well, actually, thats not true, half my life is going really really well, and the other half not so well. It seems that to get both your personal and work life just right at the same time is pretty complicated.

I’ve now been going out with Demelza and things are really great, loving every second of it… and yet I’m finding work almost imposible. To be fair, i was finding work impossible since before I started going out with Demelza. I got so used to my 9-5 job and the clear distinction between work time and the rest of my life. Work was 9-5 and then not work wasn’t. Uni is work is meet a friend in the morning, do a little work in the afternoon, then a bit of both in the evening etc. And lets face it, which is more fun, work or seeing friends etc… To make matters worse, my enthusiasm and interest in my course is almost at nothing. I’m not learning anything, all I’m having to do is show I can do all this stuff, which I can and have been able to for about a year… I don’t need to prove this, i just need to get back into the real world and start the rest of my life, none of this silly messing around with assignment etc. I’m almost resigned to that fact i may have to do another year… or go and get a job without a degree and based on my year… and to be honest, if they will take me without the degree I wouldn’t hesitate.

Anyway, now my upload on my gallery is now working i have a couple of photos from the last couple of months to show you:

Sussex Uni security camera

Sussex uni security camera error

A billboard in Brighton near the bottom of my road

One of my housemates, Dan (just to give you an idea of what i put up with….)

All done, sleep now.

Feb
04
2008

Boom

So there myself and Dan were, working away in the small hours of the morning on a new anti-spam script when it all went horribly wrong.

Penis

(Click to enlarge dare you…)

And lo, the screen was filled with a surfeit of penis. Being the mature young men we are we giggled like a pair of school girls.

And for the second time in 2 days I find myself saying, welcome to my life.

Feb
03
2008

Post

When a bit of post comes through your door and one of your housemates picks up and reads off who it is addressed to, and they just happened to read off “How many BLUE dresses can there be???” what would you think? Slightly worryingly for me my first thought was “what the hell?” shortly followed by “hang on, that might actually be for me”.

Blue dresses envolope

(I have removed part of my address clearly)

To make matters worse, said letter contained a lot of cuts out’s of blue dresses from bridal magazines.

Welcome to my life.