Thursday, July 31, 2008

Facebook; The Good and the Bad!!

Facebook, Inc.Image via WikipediaFacebook was in the news today but there was a real contrast in the stories that were digested by readers of blogs and news sources. Firstly the continued improvements to the new Facebook received praise with the introduction of the News Feed Filters. Last week was the roll out of the Imports which were lacking when the site first migrated now it's the turn of the News Feed to receive an overhaul.

The News Filters are a great addition and will likely become an addiction. With the extra tabbed headers we can cycle through the 'Top Stories' which is the traditional view that we are familiar with using and this will remain the default. Then there is Status Updates, I have really only used the Comment feature to respond to my friends status updates so this will be used heavily. I have shared other stories but these have been largely untouched so far with only really occasional interest shown from my friends.

Then there are Photo's which display all the recently uploaded photo's/albums and finally Posted Items which are stories we submit. I import a lot of activity from other sites so I am hoping that they either expand on the Posted Items header or introduce the ability to add customisation. The developers are moving in the right direction and Facebook is slowly climbing up the lifestreaming ladder!

The next story isn't associated with the site development it is a story that broke on the front page of all the evening newspapers. Not a particularly nice story either as a Facebook-organised water fight in Hyde Park ended up with violent scenes. Why are there always some that have to spoil it for the rest?

From the photo's in the newspaper you see a girl approach a man and throw what looks like Cherryade in his direction. This hits him in the face and on his clothing and he chases after her with a menacing look on his face. He catches her and then strikes her in the face knocking her off of her feet and to the floor.

Dozens of police then descended on the park and after cordoning off the area a stand-off between Police and the troublemakers took place before arrests were made. What should have been an enjoyable afternoon will be remembered for all the wrong reasons!
Zemanta Pixie

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I've Been Looking For

No one can question the phenomenon that is High School Musical, it has proved to be a massively popular brand. If you haven't caught the hype then you have been lucky, it started as an infectious TV movie that provided unforgettable songs for the noughties generation. The quadruple-platinum soundtrack was last year's bestselling album, which speaks volumes about how highly regarded the franchise has become! My daughter absolutely adores the movies and is awaiting the third installment with a lot of anticipation.

Luckily we were able to take in the stage version of the High School Musical at Hammersmith Apollo yesterday. I managed to get front row seats and wasn't disappointed! The story takes place at East High School and is the modern day Romeo and Juliet -

Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez met over winter break after they were forced to sing together at a party. They became friends, and expected not to see each other again. But then, Gabriella's mother's company transferred her to another home in Alburquerqe, New Mexico, where Troy lives. Then, Troy and Gabriella end up at the same school after winter break. They decide to audition for their school's musical, and after they audition and get a call back along with Sharpay and Ryan Evans, the two actors who've been in every school musical, the whole school makes the biggest deal out of it. Then, Troy and Gabriella's call back was amazing, and Troy and Gabriella got the leading parts in the musical, and Ryan and Sharpay were the understudies.Written by Hayden Vurdie

So how did the musical make the transition to the stage, very well as it was energetic and enjoyable. All the main characters were strong, I was really impressed with Sharpay as she came across well. The scene's with the basketball action worked well, I thought the final match was great where Troy scored the winner. Another stand out moment was when the character's were in detention with Eastender's Letitia Dean who played the drama teacher. They had to roll play and one of the pupil's acted out the role of a worm, crawling across the front of the stage. We laughed, cheered and sang along and definitely recommend this as a good night out!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

...that would of been well cheaper!!

Last few days have been full of activity, Sunday I got a kitten and although at first it was supposed to me a surprise present it hasn't worked out that way. In all fairness I don't think that me and animals have a very good understanding! When I was a child I was in the World Wildlife Fund - not to be mistaken with wrestling - I received regular updates and I thought that I would be the modern day Noah.

I'm sure in London it rains more than it did for him! Anyway it's not quite worked out for me, even less with the kitten as it's really scared of me. When the package was delivered it made it's way out of the box and under the cabinet it stayed for the rest if the day. I ventured out to get the usual kitten essentials, unluckily they had sold out of litter trays so I improvised and got a paint tray. Not the best start or welcome to the family for the kitten. It did eventually make an appearance in the evening but that was only to eat before hiding again!

As my family have been away, we've been keeping an eye on my brother's house. I went over there for the first time on Sunday and I was shocked at what I saw. Not that it had been burgled just the way they had left the house so inviting. The back window was cracked and just outside the backdoor was a hammer and chisel. That's bad enough but then looking through the window you can see a notice board with details of the holiday and the flight times. My jaw literally dropped!!

Yesterday my eldest brother down from me moved out, he hasn't moved too far only around the corner. I envy him as he has his head screwed on and has ended up in a good financial position. Although his head isn't screwed on that well as just as I was catching the train I received a call to inform me that he hadn't brought his two forms of identification required for the removal van. I came to the rescue and brought over the required documents. After work I went over to his place and it's really nice and in a good location as well. At least for the time being with him moving on I will have a bedroom! My plan is to also get a flat at a similar price but for the present I am heading away next week for a much needed break and next month I have the car MOT so before Christmas is the realistic target!

The family all arrived home as well yesterday and they were all looking golden brown and carrying with them the freshness that comes with a holiday! My poor mum was having trouble moving about as she had broken her ankle whilst away. They got a good break though as on the final day they won a return trip back to Turkey. Every cloud has a silver lining so it seems! They were excited about seeing the kitten and although it was more curious it wasn't going to be held for long and soon made a swift retreat to hide. Tonight we shall be taking our seats in the front row at the Hammersmith Apollo to watch the High School Musical!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Respect my Privacy!

Lately I have seen a lot of attention focusing on the growth in popularity of social networking sites. Internet interaction has become an integral part of society, how we communicate with our friends and make new acquaintances. We all know the risks we face with our online activity but people are still revealing a lot more than they should on sites. Peer pressure in revealing details to friends that could leave you vulnerable, from birthdays, email addresses to mobile phone numbers and work information. Loss of privacy, identity theft, stalking and in extreme instances grooming and child abuse.

We are all guilty of revealing too much but then the sites should also do more to protect us. Instead what you will find is that they will use you for leverage, that the structure will expose you to other elements in the form of applications for example!

What really defines a friend? Do we even know our close friends as it seems so easy to portray an appearance of who we are online but are we that person? Many of the sites out there seem to be heavily focused on self gratification. I get regular emails from Facebook comparing me to my friends, I'll say one thing; whoever is voting against me being the friend with the best hair you are ruining my life! If I find out I will be able to track you down due to no doubt you providing too much information on your profile!

Everywhere has subscribers, followers, friends to enhance our ego, Plurk takes this a step further and has Karma. The lack of interaction from me on Plurk has left me with Bad Karma! I frequent a few sites admittedly, I enjoy the interaction and what the sites offer I find benefits my web usage. introduces me to new music all the time and to an extent has limited the amount that I download. FriendFeed, Facebook and Twitter are all sites I use to speak with my friends. Google Reader manages all the websites and blogs that I subscribe to and follow. On each site I have a profile, a presence that details who I am and what is my purpose! Are we all becoming obsessed with creating how we want to be perceived online?

The next killer app is already in the pipeline, just waiting for an introduction and aligning itself to fill a gap in the market. The flip side is those people looking to exploit our curiosity; phishing sites, viruses and spyware infecting computers, spam etc. After completing a scan of my parents PC and reviewing the results which contained 1000+ infections including a Trojan - my siblings are clearly not aware of the threats they face online. Who does? I regularly make sure that I change my passwords, update security and scan my system, make sure that you also take care or you could regret it!

Zemanta Pixie

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Playing with the children's Wii!

A screenshot from an early version of Mario Ka...Image via WikipediaToday was expected to be quiet but how quickly everything can change, originally I was planning to go over to Bluewater to exchange some clothes for the children. That changed when I got a call from the children's Aunt to tell me that they wanted to come over to see me, in receiving the package the day took a twist! After going for the necessary shop we returned for lunch and then set about for an afternoon of playing Mario Kart on the Wii. I spoke to the Herne Bay one through various means but I don't think she fully appreciated us getting too engrossed with playing with the children's Wii. How random that still sounds even with the console being available for a long time now!

After playing Wii until the children got fed up with my brother winning every race, we participated in some football in the garden. This ended up taking on many forms until they got tired and Boy decided that he would prefer to watch his Mermaid program. You go Boy! Their mother was having a barbecue and I was hoping for the courtesy Hamburger when dropping them off but it was wishful thinking as it didn't come. Afterwards I detoured to check out my brother's place which I will elaborate more on tomorrow and on to also crash out indoors. Feeling like I need to recharge my batteries now though so I am off to bed! Well at least I will try to sleep!!
Zemanta Pixie

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Here and there!

Today was a day to remember for the children, my daughter got her Pony Club membership through the post this morning and was really excited. Boy on the other hand was fully focused for Presentation Day at football and didn't disappoint. The first two matches he played he was strong and running around really challenging for the ball. After the break he wasn't as prolific as before but a boy on his team who regularly finds the back of the net made it a good mornings work for the green team.

When the presentation came around all of the children were gathered together and the adults stood cheering as each name was called for the certificates. Then came the awards and as the coach listed what deserved the accolade of Team Player he mentioned that the winner was a person with a lot of character and a joy to train. Then he called out Boy's name and it was a good day at the office for him as he held his award aloft.

Pony Club wasn't as I had expected as I thought that all the activity would take place on the main forecourt but as we arrived all of the girls were lead away to the stables. We waited for her return watching the older riders do the usual laps, I think he lost interest in my conversation and went off to play with a little girl. When my daughter eventually emerged from the stables to take the Pony's out to a nearby field she returned to us to detail what she had done. Informing us of the stable layout and how she would learn how to look after the Pony's. Judging by her membership booklet there is a lot of knowledge she can obtain from attending Pony Club. Both of them already looking forward to next week, with the summer holidays upon them now I'll have to try and arrange for them to participate during the week as well!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Going through the process of a major clothing overhaul at the moment, I met up with my estranged partner and Baby to go shopping. We're Lily-Allen-and-Ed-Simons-ing FTW!! We nearly had a fail at the start as we didn't have a car seat but after rectifying this we were soon looking through the sales. The credit crunch has affected the stores so the sales are really generous, I have been making full use of ASOS and the offers on their site lately. They don't have children's clothing available there though which is a shame but if they were to start I would definitely use it. Instead H&M was the way this evening as this is where we got the most clothing for the kids. There was a large queue waiting to claim their place for the Dark Knight which made me jealous. I wanted to be there waiting with them to watch the movie! All the reviews have been very positive so I may be tempted to see it a couple of times on the big screen!
Zemanta Pixie

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Twitter problems

Fail Whale HiccupsImage by Zoolcar9 via FlickrNot looking good over on Twitter at the moment judging by the current status of the site. They are in the process of recovering from a following/follower problem that occurred earlier, the issue being that our profiles are displaying inaccurate counts/time lines. The message goes on to state that even after the recovery is complete that the count may appear lower. I don't have a huge follower/following but some are rioting over this, dragging people behind cars and setting fire to effigies of the Fail Whale...

Maybe it's not as extreme as that, if it is it's not reaching the usual news sources anyway. Another problem that doesn't appear to be widespread is 'ghost tweets' blogger Louis Gray had a Tweet he didn't write hit the service. Lets hope they can get this resolved as more people are losing patience and with alternative micro blogging sites they may wash their hands of Twitter completely soon!

Zemanta Pixie

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reach for the skies

Came across an imported story on FriendFeed earlier about Pixar, the article from Rotten Tomatoes gave a glimpse into their working environment. It looks like an amazing place to work, I really like the below image of the Garden Shed that one employee was working inside. I haven't managed to catch their latest movie Wall-E yet but I will definitely catch it soon with all the children. Maybe when we are away for the week as it would give us something to do one afternoon.

The animation department are currently hard at work on Toy Story 3, Up which I expect will be equally as good. On the subject of Garden Shed's I am having my children stay over with me tonight as they have broken up from school and we have been playing Hide n Seek. I decided to give them a chance that I would count in the Shed before going looking for them, bad idea as they saw this as an opportunist moment!


Away from the transfer speculation surrounding him, Christiano Ronaldo is currently in LA on holiday. The lifestyle of a 'slave' is very hard, I feel sorry for him, really I do as my summer holiday with the children to Leysdown puts his in the shade for sure. The press have been following him about as he continues his recuperation from his injury and one of the top stories this evening is his choice in clothing. I don't think he looks that bad, the orange skin maybe a stretch too far though!

Status Updates

With Twhirl recently adding support for it was only going to be a matter of time before the service was introduced to FriendFeed. That has now been added along with Plurk support bringing them both into our stream. This replaces the need for users who had been importing the RSS feed from the services so that these are now clearly defined. Those users using remember that updating multiple accounts now will see these duplicated through FriendFeed if you choose to import all of your micro-blogging sites!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The last few days have seen a flurry of activity, but one thing is certain and that is I would be lost without the Internet. Always connected, online, updating blogs and status, talking to friends, sharing stories, listening to music and reading about the uncertainty in the blogosphere with the likes of Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis. Maybe we take it for granted and too much good is having a negative affect! It probably is but without the Internet I wouldn't feel close to the people that matter.

I also wouldn't be able to read about Chelsea's supposed bid for Kaka of £120 million or that Batman actor Christian Bale has had an altercation with members of his family. I can find out about these facts from the newspapers and television but online it's as it happens on blogs and through Twitter. I never really thought that many of my close friends followed my blog but they do which surprised me. If those of you reading this also have a blog, I would like to subscribe to read about your views so reply with your RSS or drop me a message on Facebook!! Spending a lot more time on Facebook these last few days, tonight after watching Knocked Up I have been trying out the Photo functionality and it works well. Don't be shy!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A new day

After yesterday it was always going to be difficult with work, my friends were supportive and helped me get through the day though. My children's mother phoned to see how I was as well but I wasn't really in the mood to go in to detail with her. I just concentrated on work and was surprised how quick the day passed. Felt a little obsessed checking Facebook regularly to see if there was any activity after yesterday's fireworks. Facebook is currently going through it's migration to the new build as I wrote about last week so in between being a voyeur I tried out some of the new features and I must say I am impressed with the link sharing...

I felt lost on the journey to my parents house as I am crashing there for the time being. Listening to my iPod and fumbling with my phone pondering what to do. We still have that connection where by what I think she does too and I received a sad face as a text message to which I responded with the same. There is a lot to talk about but we need to take time I feel and rediscover what brought us together in the first place.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mommy, when I grow up I want to be...

We all have aspirations of love, not being lonely, raising a family and living comfortably. I know only too well about losing what you have as I only see my children on Wednesday's and weekends. I write tonight with a heavy heart, lately my relationship has been going through a rocky patch and today the curtain finally came down. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't upset and there are a lot of factors involved that will all be affected. The children, the pair of us and the future now not looking so bright as it had done previously!

Disagreement's over numerous issues, money, parenting and arguments which eventually have led to us going our separate ways. Is it a decision I like, not really but it is the right decision as we are divided on a lot of matters and the arguments aren't fair on us or the children. They are the most important aspect here, it's not fair them being involved. Our different views on parenting have often been a point of debate, we both have children from previous relationships so there is always another variable involved in the form of the biological parent. She took on a lot with me having two children but managed well considering the age gap between us and the interaction I have with the children's mother over their school and upbringing. I know I wasn't as accepting here as I don't approve of what I perceived to be trying to buy Baby's affection.

This leads me to the title as children always want to grow up and be just like their parents and I am not doing too well at the moment. I have always tried to be fair with how I treated each of the children, referring to all three of them as my own when talking to anyone. I have experienced so much of Baby's life, all of the landmark occasions. Even her first word was Dad, why? Because when my children are around it's all they say, it's what she knows me as. Lately she has been a challenge but that's expected when a child reaches Baby 2.0, the development phase, the terrible two's! That has been an emotional strain lately because a lot of patience is required but also a level head as well because we needed to act in the best needs of Baby for instance when she is tired. It's going to be strange not being asked for a bottle first thing in the morning that's for sure!

It may come across like I am trying to talk myself out of this conclusion but this has been reached due to a multitude of reasons. We both have insecurities, who doesn't though as this is the 21st Century, we're the middle children of history. There is the well documented credit crunch, I worry about making ends meet all the time. We both have our own identities, interests, social circles, likes and dislikes. I got into the relationship as to me she was important, I never wanted to change her only to make her happy. That is why I am truly sorry that we now find ourselves in this situation...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why so Serious?

The jokerImage by ♠NiJoKeR♣ via FlickrI can't express enough how much I am looking forward to watching the Dark Knight, it's not that I know much about the plot or the ending. It's just that the movie is looking like it has all the makings of a classic. There has been all the talk of Heath Ledger's performance warranting a posthumous Oscar, the way that he totally immerses himself into the role of the Joker and portrays the character on a whole new level. Jack Nicholson in the 1989 movie was amazing but Ledger has raised the bar now!

Many sources stating that his performance is 'mesmerizing in every scene', this being the late actors last full role. He was a very gifted person, with Brokeback Mountain previously earning him a nomination and showing that he was an actor in his prime. The advance ticket sales are an indication that this is going to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Expect a full review of what I think once I have attended the performance next week. Having seen the opening five/six minutes that were released/leaked to various sites a few weeks ago, I can't wait...

Zemanta Pixie

Thursday, July 17, 2008

E3 Roundup!

Been following events from E3 with interest this year, I want to be more active with gaming although I don't think I will reach the level of interaction that I had when I was an Xbox MVP in the near future. The industry seems to be having a large emphasis on music interaction lately, if you haven't heard of such games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band then you must have been living in a hole.

Fresh from Nintendo is the introduction to Wii Music which works with the Wiimote, Nunchuck and Wii Fit Balance Board. They were designing this game alongside Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Fit and it does look impressive. Also introduced was Wii Sports Resort which looks worth picking up.

Sony spoke a lot about the Playstation brand and the direction they are taking the PS3, features like video, photo and the Blu-Ray success. They spoke about the sequels that have been successful on the console (Grand Theft Auto 4, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue etc) and then moved on to Little Big Planet which is like a user created social network. Discussion moved on to the PS2 and the Playstation Network although what they announced is what Xbox Live users have had for ages. Home sounds like it has potential and the Playstation Store I think will be very strong. MAG also sounds amazing and I would like to participate in that online!!

Microsoft's announcements were what interested me the most as I can't wait for the likes of Gears of War and Fable 2 to be released. Then there is also Banjo and Kazooie coming to Arcade which will definitely get a download. Microsoft are very confident with the Xbox 360 and even went as far as releasing this quote - Xbox 360 will sell more consoles this generation than the PS3. Where does that leave Nintendo?

There were the usual partner announcements but what got me the most was that the Xbox Live dashboard will be completely re-invented. Looks good and I really like the Avatars designed by Rare, these are apparently like Nintendo Mii's which can be imported into games. There was a lot of focus on the music based games from Microsoft as mentioned above and they introduced Lips for karaoke. They finished with a big announcement that Final Fantasy 13 will be available at launch simultaneously with the PS3 version.

Lots on the agenda and something for all the fanboys to get excited about!!

Zemanta Pixie

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fire in the hole

Today I finished work early to head over to pick up the children from school as their mother was attending a funeral. With it also being her birthday we wanted to get her something decent to take her mind off of things. Arrived at the school with my partner and Baby and the upside was that it was also a viewing day where we were able to check out the children's work in the main assembly hall. After collecting both children they showed us around their work and then we went on to the park. Not the best of recreational areas as there were some unruly children, one father letting his son relieve himself beside an apparatus underlined that I won't be returning anytime soon.

Arriving at the shopping centre we all felt hunger strike so we decided to enjoy a Nando's. Nando's is great, especially if you are a lover of chicken, I always go for the extra hot sauce and as usual end up regretting it. Well at least I get the value for money!! Had a look at some fashion jewelry for their mother but have no idea what she would pair it with and my son was more interested in putting as much on him as possible. We eventually settled on buying their mother a chocolate bear with a message on it wishing happy birthday and a teddy. Whilst walking around the Disney Store she called to inform that she wasn't going to be returning home until late so the children are staying with me tonight now. They were both obviously disappointed that they weren't going to see her until the morning. Tomorrow should be eventful first thing in the morning...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Facebook Profile Preview

The long awaited Facebook profile redesign has seen a lot of delays but is now available for us to preview through a public beta. To access the updated profile, first log into Facebook and navigate to and you will be redirected to your profile. I have encountered a few error messages and the developers are still tweaking the page format as when I logged in yesterday the profile picture was located down the right, today it has been repositioned to the left.

Firstly you will notice that instead of the single page profile that it is now divided into Tabs which are located just under your name/status. These are divided into Wall, Info, Photos, Boxes and there is a plus providing the ability to add more Tabs. The Wall/Mini Feed are the default view for your profile, although I believe for people who aren't your friends this is replaced by Info.


With the updated profile there are better customisation options available, and you can also write an About Me by clicking on the text 'Write something about yourself'. Beside any profile box you will see a small pen icon, clicking on this brings up a menu with options on what you want displayed ~

Editing the Friends Box allows you to now display more than the previous default, showing 6, 9 or 12 of your friends. You can also select to always show some friends and make the Network Section visible if you choose. Editing the Boxes is a welcome addition and is available for all of the profile boxes, this is still being worked on so what I mention could change in future but overall I am impressed with what is available.


I really like the introduction of the tabbed profile browsing as it adds organisation to what can only be described as madness from my friends who add every application. The Info Tab provides Basic, Personal information and Education, selecting Edit Information at the top of the page enables you to edit everything and to finish select Done Editing. The Photo's Tab displays photo's of you and Albums which is an improvement. Boxes is where the Applications are located, I only have a few installed/visible so my Boxes Tab isn't too overwhelming when accessed.


Clearly from the Facebook redesign the developers have imitated what is successful elsewhere. FriendFeed comparisons are obvious as combining the Wall/Mini-Feed and allowing comments on feeds is a definite nod to the FriendFeed development team. All that is missing is the ability to Like an activity/feed and you have a clone. It remains to be seen if this feature will be popular with the majority of Facebook users as so far my interaction with commenting on activity/feeds has been all one way as not one of my friends has commented on my items. Combining the Wall/Mini-Feed will make this more natural but still the issues remains about interaction and exposure! This could be addressed as like I said earlier this is still a work in progress!!


Updating our social status is huge at the moment with many services available for us to micro-blog, activity update, create announcements etc. Facebook has offered a way for us to update our friends with what we are doing for a while, the profile redesign appears to be aiming to raise the profile of this. With Facebook this is an extra but updating our status has become a large part of our interaction with our Friends across other sites. I like how this has been pushed more but it's a pity that Facebook is in a sense a walled garden as surely making this available externally would be very popular. Everyone is aware of the problems with downtime and outages affecting other sites, I can't see that being an issue for Facebook!

Overall I am really impressed with the direction the developers are taking Facebook, competition is healthy and leads to innovation. I am intrigued to see what the final build will offer and whether it will continue to offer more lifestreaming functionality. On the flip side once my friends are introduced to the new profile design I want to raise their awareness of FriendFeed which would be the obvious progression. Are my friends ready to embrace this new direction?

Zemanta Pixie