Sunday, November 30, 2008

What's your interpretation of the offside rule?

Offside in footballImage via WikipediaAs technology becomes more of an integral part in our lives, we take more for granted, expect more and we want it to be faster. The younger generation, born into the digital world, not only take technology for granted, they don't even know otherwise. My daughter has a mobile phone and can access the Internet which when I was a child wasn't even known. This comparison shows how far we have come in such a short space of time.

The advances we are making are incredible and have allowed us to move forward. Why then isn't football adapting to recognise the advantages that technology provides and truly become a modern game?

Frequently we have referee decisions that influence the results of matches; disallowed goals, players diving, offside rulings, off-the-ball incidents etc. With the pressure surrounding clubs, the money involved and the constant media scrutiny analysing form, match officials are increasingly adding to the problems surrounding clubs.

UEFA President Michael Platini's vision of the footballing future is to introduce behind-the-goal officials to compliment the traditional man in the middle and his assistants. Why?! Imagine the scenario in an important fixture and the officials all have conflicting views, how will they decide draw straws? It has reached the point where the introduction of technology is essential to move forward.

Personally I feel football could make significant advances by embracing the technology used in grand-slam tennis. Firstly the challenge system I believe would give teams the ability - at least the captain - to challenge a decision should they feel that the official has interpreted an instance incorrectly. Allocating a preset number like the three challenges per set available in tennis would prevent this from being abused. Likewise should a team surround the official the ability to challenge should be revoked. Details from Wikipedia -
In 2006, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to implement instant replay reviews of calls, using Hawk-Eye. Available only on the stadium courts (Ashe and Armstrong), each player was allowed two challenges per set plus one additional challenge during a tiebreak but was not penalized with the loss of a challenge if it was upheld. The USTA announced that starting in 2008, each player will be given three challenges per set with an extra challenge if the set goes to a tiebreak.

Once a challenge is made, the official review (a 3-D computer simulation based on multiple high-speed video cameras) is shown to the players, umpires, and audience on the stadium video boards and to the television audience at the same time. The system is said to be accurate to within five millimeters.

Hawk-Eye is another computer system that could be introduced, especially with the furore that often surrounds goal line decisions. The most blatant instance for this I have seen was when Tottenham were denied victory at Old Trafford as a Pedro Mendes shot which crossed the line was not given. I remember I was at Stamford Bridge that same night and we were in disbelief when the goal was disallowed.
Details from Wikipedia -
Hawk-Eye is a computer system used in cricket, tennis and other sports to visually track the path of the ball and display a record of its actual path as graphic image. In some sports, like tennis, it is now part of the adjudication process. It is also able to predict the future path of a ball.[Source]
I am interested to know what you think so if you are a regular reader or come across my blog by chance, how do you feel the beautiful game can adapt?

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Let there be light

iTunes includes many visualizers. Shown here i...Image via WikipediaYesterday I came across an article on Mashable about how to convert your blog into a Podcast on iTunes for free. This is where I have wanted to move onto for a while because I enjoy listening to them and would like to push myself into that form of content distribution.

The setback so far in taking my activity to that level has been the lack of decent equipment. I don't have a microphone and neither do I have a camera of any real quality. Why a camera? Well the next level isn't just soundbytes but I want to be able to upload video and distribute regular updates on sites like Seesmic, 12 Seconds etc. Just viewing my DailyMugshot profile you can see that both of the camera's that I use provide a grainy quality image. Anyway until I am in a position to build a mini-studio I am now able to bring my blog to your .mp3 player courtesy of iTunes. Just click on the Odiogo button located in the right side bar to subscribe to my blog in audio format :)

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Friday, November 28, 2008

#000000 Friday

Walmart - Black Friday 2008Image by bisongirl via FlickrToday was Black Friday (#000000 Friday if you are a geek) this is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, traditionally this signals the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employees have the day off, which increases the number of potential shoppers. The latest Elmo always seems to signal a huge melee!

In the UK it's a different story, with the current state of the economy the consumer seems reluctant to spend waiting for the expected sales and reductions to arrive. Stores over the WestEnd today opened at 7am obviously looking to entice the city workers to spend their wages. It failed as not many people were interested, I read that there were two girls who queued for TopShop and similar stories at other stores.

In all fairness I forgot that the early openings were even taking place, the offer of champagne to shoppers alone would have been enough to tempt me. Although this wasn't widely acknowledged I feel that they should persevere and raise more awareness by marketing as Christmas is only a few weeks away.

I took advantage of the Apple Store discounts today, the Black Friday sales were mirrored across the world and not just in America. There weren't massive reductions but any offer is worth taking advantage of however much the price is slashed. With the problems surrounding Woolworths there will be a lot more reductions to come over the coming weeks so like playing poker I am not showing my hand just yet!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twitter is emerging as a major force in breaking news!

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image by via CrunchBaseUpdate 28/11/08 22:22
I have been following the devastating attacks in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in India and the situation remains extremely volatile. We are reminded again that the fight against international terrorism is a fight to defend the values we hold and the price we have to pay of living in open, democratic, liberal societies.

The gunmen sought anyone with British or American passports with the violence widespread throughout the area and many casualities. The minute news broke of the terrorist attacks, social media sites like Twitter, Flickr and blogs proved to be valuable sources of information. Twitter is emerging as a major force in breaking news with CNN even acknowledging the value -
It was the day social media appeared to come of age and signaled itself as a news gathering force to be reckoned with

With more than 6 million members worldwide, an estimated 80 messages, or "tweets," were being sent to via SMS every five seconds, providing eyewitness accounts and updates.

Many Twitter users also sent pleas for blood donors to make their way to specific hospitals in Mumbai where doctors were faced with low stocks and rising casualties
Twitter is a source of journalism and it's long overdue that mainstream publications give credit to social media sites - like Twitter - for breaking news during times of crisis. I don't follow the web interface of Twitter instead I choose to use a Desktop client in Twhirl for updates. This meant that the events in Mumbai were brought to my attention via Friendfeed which compliments Twitter by importing updates. Instinctively I switched the channel on the television to Sky News but returned to the Internet to follow events in 'real-time'.

Including hashtags (for example #Mumbai) enhances the visibility of messages, otherwise, your efforts might only be visible to the people who already follow you [Source]. Obviously a degree of skepticism is required but any misinformation will soon be corrected. Unverified messages do circulate on Twitter but likewise for mainstream publications most recently with the Steve Jobs story that circulated. Michael Arrington (Tech Crunch) provides a good summary -
What matters isn’t any individual Twitter message and whether it’s right or wrong. It’s the organism as a whole, the aggregate, that lets people stream what they’re witnessing in real time to the world. That aggregate stream gives us more information, faster, than anything before. It’s news, and it’s incredibly valuable.
I agree with this statement although it's a disappointing that we reflect on the strength of social media sites at a time of tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected and I hope that the situation reaches a conclusion without the need for further casualties.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Experience points...

Following on from yesterday where I mentioned the possibilities of moving house - today my partner finalised the details and the move date is set for 20th December. Less than a week before Christmas which I'm sure will prove to be a challenge. Hopefully winter conditions will be practical and we won't be in the midst of a blizzard. I just have a feeling that there will be snow everywhere and we'll be trying to manoeuvre the streets like Midtown Madness. She is full of excitement but I know from experience that it's not as easy as it may seem.

This evening I was delayed by the trains which led to collecting my children later than I should have which was annoying. Especially as the objective for the evening was assignments for my son with the aim being to build his confidence in writing. He was reluctant at first but I made it enjoyable and soon he was copying words from everywhere he could see them around the room. My daughter who still hasn't fully recovered from last week so has doctors tomorrow, he should prescribe something to get her back to her usual self.


Finally this evening I decided to blow the dust from my Xbox 360 console and update to the New Xbox Experience. The update took around ten minutes to complete overall and once it had finished I signed in and created an Avatar. Above is my character and how I am portrayed on the Xbox Live service although I reckon my legs are possibly a more skinnier!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Outside the box

Christmas gifts.Image via WikipediaToday my partner started back at work, the first day is always a daunting experience but she came through. Not content she is already making plans for her next venture, that looks likely to be moving house before Christmas.

As if the month of December isn't hard enough already, now we're going to be living out of boxes for the next few weeks. That's of course if she is able to make arrangements but if I know her it's not a matter of if she will but when she finalises a deal as she has her heart set on a few properties.

Whilst waiting for her to return home I decided to take the time to browse the local stores for Christmas present ideas. Speaking to store representatives I was able to get a much clearer picture of what I wanted to get for everyone. Although typically they were awaiting a delivery for a couple of the gifts so I will likely now purchase them at the weekend!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

We're Rich...

One of Wishbone's many portrayals, Robin Hood ...Image via WikipediaAs widely predicted by several sources over the weekend, Chancellor Alistair Darling announced this afternoon at 1530GMT that from Monday December 3 - VAT would be cut from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent.

The cut will last for 13 months and will be the equivalent to the Government returning £12.5billion to UK taxpayers. I really don't understand the politics in this country, rarely does it seem that they are acting with the best interests of the country.

Listening whilst at work I felt the same as the politicians who jeered as the Chancellor detailed his pre-Budget plans. Also announced was that the tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 will increase to 45 percent. Just like Robin Hood it would have been more appropriate had he been dressed in a green outfit and attempting to fire arrows into a target and failing. Although the measures announced by Darling will inject £20billion I am concerned about the road ahead, more than ever!!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Go West!

Descended on West London this afternoon to see what Westfield Shopping Center had to offer the likes of the Christmas shopping connoisseur. Considering that both West London clubs weren't in action today the traffic was an absolute nightmare. I can't imagine what it's like when Chelsea/Fulham are playing home matches. Google Maps guided us on our way like the North Star leading the shepherds, although 'with-traffic' needs some work as we were 'twenty minutes away' for a while.

Eventually after navigating through the traffic we arrived at the entrance to the Shopping Center parking area only to be turned away - like Mary and Joseph from the Hilton - for no apparent reason. Now heading in the opposite direction and unable to locate any alternative parking places I decided to u-turn and try again. Thankfully on the second attempt we arrived as they were moving the barriers to allow the traffic to flow through into the parking area. This aspect clearly needs some work!

Entering the parking area you are assisted in finding a space by indicators which are provided above every space and change colour (green/red) when empty/occupied. Parking is expensive at around two pound an hour although Sunday is free. Personally I think I will get the train the next time I venture over to the shopping center, if only just to compare the difference in travel times.

The Shopping Center itself is impressive and some of the display architecture is amazing. There aren't any fast food outlets which is good although when you have children they do provide a quick fix. That said they have a Nando's and Pizza Express upstairs! There are a few stores that aren't open yet, the Disney Store should be opening soon but a few won't be available until 2009. Overall Westfield Shopping Center has plenty to offer and hopefully I will be able to visit again before Christmas, possibly without the children as well to have a better look around.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Disguises, costumes and accessories...

Happy birthday of dogImage by AKIHIRO FURUTA via FlickrIt feels like the winter months are going to be particularly brutal this year as normally I can firm the weather but I am wrapping up like an eskimo this time around. Thankfully spiderman my son is made of stronger minerals and other than to inform me that his hands were cold and that he wanted some gloves he raced about all morning.

My daughter and I were there to offer encouragement, jumping around and cheering him on. Reminding him regularly to keep moving so that he stays warm. It's not really a wonder that the other parents haven't really built up a close bond with me yet as I am still a child at heart!

My daughter hasn't fully recovered yet so we decided against horse riding instead going to Bluewater to have a look for presents briefly. After walking around for a while we headed home where we stayed for the remainder of the day. My partner is currently looking for somewhere convenient to move to as she is starting her new job on Tuesday. Not sure if she will be able to finalise plans before the end of the month but hopefully something will materialise. Crashed out this evening to watch Big Daddy which is a great movie and the children thought so as well.

Google today launched SearchWiki, a way for us to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results. Can they do anything wrong lately;

With just a single click you can move the results you like to the top or add a new site. You can also write notes attached to a particular site and remove results that you don't feel belong. These modifications will be shown to you every time you do the same search in the future. SearchWiki is available to signed-in Google users.[Source]

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Friday, November 21, 2008

I caught cornflakes disease!

Drop Dead FredImage via WikipediaChecking my Outlook inbox when I arrived in work this morning there was an email sent to the entire company from our Managing Director which was received at 2am. With the current economic crisis you would be forgiven for expecting the worse although this was the reverse and contained very positive news.

Several members of the management team had attended an awards ceremony and our latest software initiative available for small business had cleaned house. Positive news for the whole company and 2009 is looking exciting. We were discussing the direction of the company and our own futures at the end of the day which was insightful.

Today was payday but with Christmas approaching I decided against a night out, want to get some presents before becoming adventurous. I also don't want to leave everything until the last minute but with Christmas falling in the middle of the week I am sure there will be the usual last minute fiasco. Also I have my children this weekend so I had to come home to them and the recipe for the evening was watching Drop Dead Fred. I thought that the movie would appeal to them and it proved to be a winner!
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Xbox Experience

Apparently somebody thought that this Xbox was...Image via WikipediaI used to be an avid gamer and would regularly connect with my friends to play online and battle through the many enemies and scenarios. Now the Internets have become my main hobby, communicating with friends through social networking and media. That doesn't mean that I have turned my back on the gaming community as I still actively follow the industry through the feeds I subscribe.

Only recently a comment on my blog directed my attention to a discussion on the Official Xbox forums and I 'jumped in'. When I originally started posting on I wasn't really that active online but that took off once I began socialising with like minded people and discussing the platform and direction.

Contributing on the forum recently it quickly became clear that forums are very static and other than the Gamercard it feels dated. It's a considerable improvement to the previous build although since frequenting sites like Facebook for example I feel that the next version needs to be more of a social network. We can speculate over what will happen with the forums but the purpose of this post is to highlight the New Xbox Experience which appears to be heavily focused on social interaction. Here are the details from

  • Netflix instantly streaming in HD: The New Xbox Experience isn't the only thing that will look great on your TV. Netflix is taking the first step by instantly streaming movies and TV episodes in high definition with the introduction of approximately 300 choices in HD via Xbox 360, including La Vie en Rose, Flawless, and Heroes. Xbox 360 is the only Netflix-ready device to offer high-definition movies and TV episodes.
  • Xbox LIVE Party: Use Xbox 360 to create a virtual party on your TV with up to seven friends. With Xbox LIVE Party, use voice chat while you play games,* share photos in real time, and entertain friends all over the world.
  • Personality plus: Create a customized, animated avatar and literally jump into the world of Xbox LIVE. Your avatar is your game face throughout the New Xbox Experience and represents your personality, whether you are serving as an Xbox LIVE Party host, playing a game of Scene It? ® Box Office Smash, or chatting with a friend.
  • On-demand entertainment: Xbox 360 is home to the best TV and movie entertainment, including more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes from Netflix and a large online library of more than 15,000 on-demand high-definition TV shows and movies from global partners such as Constantin, The Walt Disney Studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM), NBC Universal, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
  • Games for the community, by the community: For the first time in the history of console gaming, thousands of games developed by the creative community will be available to the public. The Community Games channel on Xbox LIVE will include games made by students, hobbyists and maybe even your next door neighbor, and will be exclusive to Xbox LIVE.
I'm interested to hear what people think about the New Xbox Experience, how it compares to what is available on the other consoles and also what could be improved. It would be really appreciated if you could leave me a comment with your views. Alternatively add me on Xbox Live Gamertag - shreddies :)

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


American actor Johnny Depp.Image via WikipediaNever really been one for facial hair, this month though something inside me has woken and it wants to be noticed. After going without shaving for just over a week, I have now taken a razor to my face and carefully sculpted a masterpiece. Referring to images of Josh Hartnett and Johnny Depp as a template I have now shaped a moustache and goatee. The reason behind this bold statement is to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression.

Movember (a portmanteau of the words 'Moustache' and 'November') is an annual month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November. The event has been claimed to have been invented in 1999 by group of Australian men from Adelaide. [Source]

Although not raising money I wanted to participate after a few colleagues brought this to my attention in my office. So far the reaction has been muted, although my children all look at me with a look of disbelief. Least impressed so far has been my partner, she has vowed not to kiss me until I shave :)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can you read my mind?!

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseThe Google iPhone application I consider to be one of the most useful available, providing access to Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Docs, Reader, Picasa etc. A vast array of Google's services all tabbed in one location for ease of use. Google Reader plays an integral role in my online activity, why navigate to multiple websites and blogs when I can access the feeds in one location.

Google is primarily known for it's search engine and trademark interface and has even led to the term Googling being coined to describe popular usage of the site. An update to the Google iPhone application makes it possible to search a query using our voice, taking advantage of the iPhone's proximity sensor to start and stop recording. The update places a microphone button to the right of the search box (within the application) so that users can use the vocal search feature in a speakerphone format.

The search-by-voice provides an innovative tilt on how to search the Internet and also highlighting the advances being made all the time with technology. What's next on the agenda? Personally I want a form of responsive search a way to read-my-mind! At the very least the ability to read my partners mind as that should make my life infinitely easier :)

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Need Input

My children aren't too well at the moment, my son has been under the weather since Friday and my daughter is also poorly as well now. Both were with me over the weekend and made a valiant effort to keep it together as they weren't firing on all cylinders. Saturday my son wasn't up for football but my daughter with all of her new horse riding attire from her birthday - consisting of brushes and a whip - was chomping at the bit to get into the action. She really enjoyed it as well, waiting for the opportunity to use the whip and it wasn't until the end when the time arose and she ceased the moment. Looking all proud that she had passed another milestone that she had set herself.

After that action we had a fairly low key weekend, I didn't want to commit to anything that they would lose interest in due to feeling poorly so stayed at home. Today I learnt that they are both off school as they weren't feeling well enough to attend. Speaking to my daughter on her phone this evening she said that they are still feeling rough so probably won't be going back until Wednesday.

I was learning about programming language from a book that my colleague provided me with last night, finished around eleven due to Fight Club being on television. Obviously infinitely more important! Continuing on from reading about programming, today at work I put what I had learnt into practise and also tried to get an understanding of binary and hexadecimal. I created a basic email form in HTML/PHP to escalate issues to our technical department. It's difficult to allocate time at work to commit to building up my education as there is always something that takes priority but it's likely to slow down for Christmas which should free up my time!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Brick In The Wall

Education encompasses both the teaching and learning of knowledge, proper conduct, and technical competency. It thus focuses on the cultivation of skills, trades or professions, as well as mental, moral and aesthetic development.[Source]

Unbelievable as it may seem, the above definition from Wikipedia, well you know, if I knew that paragraph when I was at school I would have gone on to achieve the highest accolade. You can feel the sarcasm as I strike the keys typing this entry with an excited smile across my face.

Recently I have been studying, not just for work related purposes but also to educate myself about a whole range of subjects. You have probably seen that relayed through my writing; history, technology and seeking new direction. I understand that at times you have to travel backwards to really move forwards and I embrace that and want to learn. Whether it's because I am rapidly approaching thirty, I have children who are information magnets at the moment or because I feel that I am not doing enough to make significant advances. Today php tomorrow the world...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

dotcom > sitcom

In the beginning there was the PC Era and "the developer" said -
c:\>Let there be light!
In light of recent events I took a look at the above diagram of the semantics of social and information connections and noted relative scenarios to my previous and current standing. Analysing the information which covers the last three decades, comparing my timeline and the evolution from the PC Era. All starting in the eighties with the introduction of DOS, the Internet back then was in it's infancy just as I was as a child. Trying to establish myself in the same way that developers were building the architecture that would eventually become the Internet as we know it today.

The World Wide Web evolved and led to the "dot-com bubble" which was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2001. This was around the period that I was leaving school and looking to make an impact on the World. As Web standards were introduced, I too had to adapt and accept responsibility as I matured into an adult.

The timeline above depicts the Internet in stages (Web 1.0, 2.0... etc) I can relate to this instance by describing my relationships which (sorry girls) I count as two of significance. From the first relationships I have two start ups, both are now at school and are adapting to the challenges of life. This relationship came with it's bugs and incompatibility so the program instance ended. I remained backwards compatible as there was no way that I was going to distance myself from my children's development.

Although not in the same instance the dot-com bubble burst and many dot-Com's ran out of capital and were acquired or liquidated. The crash wiped out $5 trillion in market value of technology companies from March 2000 to October 2002. I also found myself in financial difficulty as I absorbed the 'bad-debt' from the relationship and had to adjust to being apart from my children.

Web 2.0 describes the changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aim to enhance creativity, communications, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has questioned whether one can use the term in any meaningful way, since many of the technology components of Web 2.0 have existed since the early days of the Web.

Web 2.0 encapsulates the idea of the proliferation of inter-connectivity and interactivity, my current relationship reflects the Semantic Web and allows for cross platform connectivity. I met my current partner through the social networking site MySpace and we have had some really dynamic adventures.

At times it has proved to be difficult as we both have children from previous relationships but we have held it together. We also have our 1.0 partners, their new relationships and other factors so it's very widely spread. Just like the current crop of social media tools, threaded posts/comments and variant platforms. It's one voice interpreted many different ways, with multiple outcomes! Underneath this Live Mesh you will find us in digital form but instead of being able to sync, share and express ourselves we aren't displaying the required creativity that either of us deserve.
some_function($an_argument, $another_argument);
The continued uncertainty over the global economy has been a worry and has been building steadily over the last few months with the World markets heading into recession. In my previous relationship the underlining issue was being unable to find the funds. This is presently something I hear echo through the press daily with the economy but unlike before I now have a reluctance to spend. It's not going to solve the problem - just look at the Governments throwing money away - but it does create unnecessary tension when we should be working together.

I have seen many indications that the Web 2.0 era is over but also signs that it has momentum. Maybe I'm already in the cloud computing but I am not ready for a WebOS because I feel that there is real potential and the ability to change the decline.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

She Bangs the Drums

Apple Store in the Twin Cities, MNImage by ahhyeah via FlickrDisappointing start to the weekend, it's like history repeating, on different pages and likely different paths. As I stated yesterday regarding needing some thinking time I plan on putting this time to use with plotting out my future as well as reading through a book on programming language. My son isn't well at the moment so I don't think that I will be taking him football tomorrow but my daughter seems to be full of energy.

She got a mobile phone for her birthday, so I get a call everyday now with her giving me an update on what she has been up to during the day. It's a sign of the times that children at the age of eight are embracing the technology available to them and looking to communicate. I love it as it gives me a direct route to her and she can also update me when there is anything I need to know! Up next, not sure as she doesn't own an Apple product yet that will bring her a step closer to being a true tech geek lover like her Father ;)
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Think Weak!

Image representing Bill Gates as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBaseThis morning presented me with the usual rush to get ready, add into the mix too very tired children who preferred the warmth of the bed than the cold outside. Who could blame them really as given the choice I know what I would choose...

It's apparent at work that I am working later and skipping breaks, with overtime not available for permanent contract staff I don't get the benefits of the extended service. It can create problems at times with my personal life as with no real guarantee over when I will be finishing, meal times and activities are judged as and when possible.

I have been slowly trying to get a better understanding of programming languages. Not really made any real progress and ideally I need a Think Week like Bill Gates used to have so that I can concentrate.

Microsoft are in the news at the moment as they have transformed the Windows Live site into a social network. The overhaul allows for integration for Spaces, Hotmail, and Messenger. It's an interesting development but I don't see too many people switching from the likes of Facebook and MySpace. In other news Twitter has just passed the one-billion Tweet mark although we may never know who submitted this update as the profile is set to private!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keep it real

The above image isn't real - however much I would like it to be for the sake of my ego - instead it's created using a site I came across earlier today PhotoFunia. Photofunia is easy to use and within seconds of uploading your photo the end result is available for you to download. There are lots of templates available, my personal favourite is the one I have added above although there are a few that could be in contention as profile material.

Tonight I have my children staying as there mother is going to watch 'voice-of-this-generation' Kanye West at the O2 and won't be home until late. I must admit I am jealous as I rate Kanye highly and I am enjoying his new material which I have been listening to via The Hype Machine. If you enjoy listening to music, remixes and mash-ups then The Hype Machine is just the site. With integration with the site is an essential especially if you are looking for a twist on the current releases. One Kanye performance I would like to have been in attendance is his debut of Love Lockdown at the MTV Video Music Awards. Very impressive! Sound responsive clothing FTW!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First impressions

Gary and RobertImage by thinkjose via FlickrThis evening whilst online frequenting my usual sites I was alerted to a video reaction by Gary Vaynerchuk to comments that Howard Stern had made. The tweet from Robert Scoble was hard not to be intrigued by as when I noticed his enthusiasm on Twitter I couldn't help but feel the need to watch the whole reaction.

Howard Stern was asked which was more popular - social networking sites or pornography - clearly social networking is the Internets darling at the moment and Howard acknowledged that but also poked fun at it as more of a joke. This then progressed onto him criticising new media, obviously forgetting where he had come from and what he has built his career on.

In the above clip I have embedded from - Howard is played in the background via YouTube and he is attacking social networking sites and bloggers and the content we put out there for the world to read and digest. At times Howard sounded mocking and really on the defensive about 'his brand' and what Gary described as old media. Luckily we had someone with Gary Vaynerchuk's energy in our defense as he dissected everything with an accurate analysis of the industry. This is the first time I have watched any of Gary's videos but I have subscribed to his RSS and will watch intently for more from him!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Making a Splash

Finished early at work today as I had my children's school open evening to attend, weather was miserable and arriving back to my car I was greeted with the above scene. Having left my scuba equipment at the dry cleaners I had to wade through the water and climb into my car soaked. Arrived at the school to be informed by their mother that she had to be elsewhere and for me to update her on the outcome of my discussion with the teachers.

The organisation at the school was questionable as I had no idea what was going on with the schedule and seating plan. Ended up walking back and forth as the teachers I was scheduled to see were both running late. Eventually I got to see the teachers and both spoke highly of the work that the children were doing and the progress they were making. There were points for me to take on in supporting them at home which was very beneficial. I also queried a mailing list that I recently signed up for with my sons teacher, I have a feeling my email address must have been a running joke with the staff she knew it and blushed.

If you have me as a Live Messenger contact you will know that it's not the most practical hence the eventual need for a GMail account. To celebrate the achievements of both children we headed back to B&Q car park to round off the night with some aquaplaning in the car! :)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Can I Have This Dance

BirthdayImage by joedawson via FlickrYesterday went really well, we arrived at the party venue later than expected as we had to wait in the car as finishing touches were added to the hall and for people to arrive. My daughter was beaming when we made our entrance and my usually over confident son took it upon himself to hide away out of view.

I felt awkward at first as I was surrounded by her family and also their mother's partner and relatives. After speaking to the Grandfather for a while I switched into party mode and tried to assist the DJ with organising the children.

My family and friends eventually arrived excluding those working and my youngest sister who was returning home from a short break in Barcelona with her boyfriend. With the party in full swing it was good to catch up with people I hadn't seen in ages and also speak with their children who are also growing fast.

Speaking with one of the boys about his plans he informed me that he wants to be a fireman or a footballer when he grows up. I asked about his younger brother and he told me that he was hoping to be an ice cream man when he leaves school. Quality!

I got involved more with helping the DJ and keeping chaos to a minimum, pass-the-parcel, karaoke and musical bumps all kept the children focused. My reward at the end was to be asked if I had worked with children before, apparently I am a natural! The highlight of the party for me was my daughter blowing out the candles on the cake as she looked so happy. You can catch up on all of the pictures from the big day on Flickr.

After the party my daughter was having a few friends stay, I originally had made plans for them to come back to mine for a fireworks display and bonfire. Their mother wanted to spend some time with her on her birthday instead though which I can understand. My son in the knowledge that we were going to be having a fire wasn't even contemplating going home and he came back with me. We picked up my partner and baby on the way and then set about burning the set of Frock Me in the garden and competing with our neighbour with their private display. I think we slightly edged it with one of the fireworks we had, I will try and get some footage online at some point :)

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