Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

A firework in Bratislava, Slovakia, 2005Image via WikipediaThe New Year is almost here and I just wanted to thank everyone for reading and contributing to my site. It's been an eventful year and one I feel has made me a lot more responsible. I hope that you enjoy the celebrations if you are out tonight and that the New Year brings everything and more to you and your family.

It's always interesting to see what you the reader found to be the most popular posts this year. The most popular was the New Facebook Profile Preview and in second place was my recent post on Disqus Integrating with Facebook Connect. As my reader base continues to grow I am sure that there will be more popular and interesting topics to come in the New Year.

Once again thankyou for reading and contributing and have a great night and prosperous start to 2009 :)
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Give me credit...

Jane Frank: illustration from Thomas Yoseloff'...Image via WikipediaI separated from my children's mother a long time ago, since then I have been in various relationships and been with my current partner for two years. Why then do I still find it impossible to get credit, it's like that one period in my life has become like a vacuum.

I am a lot more responsible now and I want to move forward instead of the past having such a bearing on what I can do. I guess it's right to have five year objectives as hopefully when I am thirty I will have stability to be over this and laughing in my castle :)
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The 'Best of...' collection

Using Social Media tools I feel I'm better equipped to analyse my web activity, preferences and what I have enjoyed in 2008. I've participated in a lot of discussion and interacted with intelligent people and communities that I feel have educated and made me wiser. It's normal for this time of year to present 'Best of...' features, I have decided to participate in the trend and summarise what has been good to me. So here goes -

Starting with the music that I have enjoyed and been able to track better due to my migration from typical radio stations to listen almost solely to I have my iTunes, Windows Media Player
and Hype Machine profile configured so that they are all tracked through the site. This provides a clear picture of my musical preference and what I have rinsed.

The Top Tracks analysis for the year shows that The Strokes What Ever Happened was the song that got the most airplay. It was through that I was introduced to The Strokes, having missed the original buzz I really got into the sound this year. That wasn't the case with the Black Kids who feature several times at the top of the most played tracks. It was through Jo Whiley where I first heard about them and having downloaded their teaser album early in the year it remained a solid listening experience. The same with Glasvegas who were also brought to my attention by Jo Whiley, I have their album in the car and feel that Geraldine would be a lot higher played were that taken into consideration.

The rest of the top fifteen are made up of songs that I consider to be anthems, with the exception of Albeit Mach Frei. Due to the related artist playlist and a limited amount of Libertines tracks this received a lot of play which is inflated. I noticed over the last few months though that more Libertines and Babyshambles tracks are being played now which is better. There were some great bands breaking through this year that don't feature here, I rate MGMT and Vampire Weekend as two bands that I really enjoyed listening to considerably. As with Glasvegas they were rinsed mainly on car journeys!

Top Artists shows that listening to the Arctic Monkeys has built them up an impressive margin of plays over the rest of the artists. This is likely to continue into 2009, especially with the much anticipated third album coming soon. Panic at the Disco for some reason I find is the soundtrack to my relationship, the songs featured heavily on my MySpace profile and also were popular when I met my partner. What I like most about The Kooks is the lead singer Luke Pritchard's voice as he has a unique sound that I find appealing. Oasis, Razorlight and Fall Out Boy I feel will always feature highly in top artists mainly due to their impressive back catalogue. I expect them to be in and around the top five positions next year as well.

Plenty of other well known names appearing at the top, The Strokes and Black Kids I mentioned earlier but another band really getting my attention this year was Kings of Leon. I have really enjoyed their music and have been listening to their back catalogue these last few weeks. MGMT and Vampire Weekend I mentioned above as not featuring in the top tracks but here the same can be said for Crystal Castles that I played frequently during car journeys.

I would say that this is an accurate representation of my music preference and recommend anyone that enjoys music to sign up to Which leads this post onto the next topic which is websites. Recently I installed the Wakoopa plugin which monitors my online activity and the sites that I frequently visit but I am going to ignore that for the time being and instead my top ten websites are going to be based on preference for the year -


10. Disqus -
Disqus, pronounced "discuss", is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. The Disqus comment system can be plugged into any website, blog, or application. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community. [Source]
Those that contribute to my blog will know that I have been using the Disqus plugin for a while now. I rate the global comment system highly as it's easy to integrate and connects conversation across the Internet. Recently they have integrated with Facebook Connect which will help site owners by offering another channel for activity and distribution.

9. Digg -
Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users. You won’t find editors at Digg — we’re here to provide a place where people can collectively determine the value of content and we’re changing the way people consume information online. [Source]
As a form of news discovery and social interaction, Digg was the site that started it all for me this year. During my early use the objective was to have a successful story, as I learnt to use the site and tools available I changed the strategy to just follow others activity. Instead of submitting stories I check the site daily via the web and iPhone application to see what is creating a buzz and share with my various sites connected with Digg.

8. -
Every track you play will tell your profile something about what you like. It can connect you to other people who like what you like - and recommend songs from their music collections and yours too. [Source]
As I have mentioned above in the Music post, has replaced the typical radio station. I will continue to use the site heavily in 2009 and want to interact more with the iPhone application as currently I am playing my iTunes playlist when travelling between locations. For music this is a must have!

7. Brightkite -
Brightkite is a location-based social network. In real time you can see where your friends are and what they're up to. Depending on your privacy settings you can also meet others nearby. [Source]
In recent weeks I have found that my activity with Brightkite has increased considerably. Being able to update your status from your exact location and attach a photo - if required - is an excellent way to interact with friends. The iPhone application really made Brightkite useful as now I can update when on the move and if I encounter anything I want to share :)

6. YouTube -
YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. [Source]
YouTube is the biggest video sharing community on the Internet, it's like a visual search engine experience and you can waste many hours watching clips and videos. I've a few clips hosted, the most popular being N.E.R.D at Brixton which has received 3,578 views and 16 comments. Mainly I use YouTube for browsing, watching trailers and music and I also feel that it's a great education tool as I can bring the world to my children.

5. Google
Google Inc. is an American public corporation, earning revenue from advertising related to its Internet search, e-mail, online mapping, office productivity, social networking, and video sharing services as well as selling advertising-free versions of the same technologies. [Source]
The term Google has now become a verb. To Google something means you are searching the Internet for what you require. I hear this term everywhere, from in the office to in the street 'Have you Googled it...' has become one of the statements of the year. After Change and Fail for obvious reasons :) Google Search has been an essential part of my working and personal life in accessing/obtaining information. Google services have also become a major part of my activity as well, will 2009 be the year of the GoogleOS?

4. Twitter -
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. [Source]
With Twitter there is so much potential, this year though has mainly been about stability. The Fail Whale that was a regular part of the scene has now faded into obscurity, downtime is also no longer a word associated with Twitter. Instead we now have a medium that is recognised for breaking news, a tool used by celebrities like Britney Spears and President-elect Barack Obama. With the Twitter API developers are able to create clients whereby users can cater their experience for their needs. Through Twitter I have interacted with some amazing people and participated in a tweetup recently which was an experience. Many sites are predicting Twitter to go mainstream next year, it's possible but I feel that next year will be too soon. Instead I feel it will continue to grow with the holy grail being to generate revenue.

3. Friendfeed -
FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends. [Source]
I feel that 2008 was all about Friendfeed, a feed aggregator that consolidates, community, social media and networking interaction. Providing the ability to stream information from various sites and create a customised feed with which to discuss with my peers. The founders of Friendfeed are all former Google employees, they are a talented team and with frequent updates the site has become the destination source for the latest information. Recently introduced Real-time feed will only get better and I'm hoping for an iPhone application in the New Year to take the experience further.

2. Facebook -
Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected.

Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.
Facebook is still the platform where I can interact with my friends, import my feeds, share information and be a voyeur see what my friends are doing. The sites growth has been phenomenal and with 140 million members it looks certain to pass 200 million at some point in 2009. With the Facebook platform and newly released Facebook Connect the site continues to evolve to enhance the Facebook experience.

1. Google Reader -
Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. [Source]
Google Reader is my number one site for 2008, it's the site that I am dependant on for news and updates. It's through Google Reader that I am able to digest and understand what is happening in the world. Google Reader has changed the way that I view sites and also made newspapers for the first time feel dated due to my iPhone access. Why read yesterday's stories when through Google Reader, the sites I am subscribed to and my friends shared items I am able to digest the news that I want. Any item that I find interesting, I can share with my friends and these notes are also published through sites like Friendfeed and Socialmedian. Through Atom and RSS I am able to syndicate the sites I find interesting in one location, this is why I rate Google Reader as indispensable and my number one.

What were the sites you enjoyed using the most, is there anything I have missed?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We're in business!

Some of Facebook's gifts, as displayed in the ...Image via WikipediaI wrote recently about an announcement from Disqus about their integration with Facebook Connect that now appears to be complete. Readers of this blog will know that I have been using Disqus for a while and a combination of both Facebook Connect and Disqus services has a lot of potential for me to reach out to my readers and encourage them to contribute and also provides another form of content distribution.

Facebook is a trusted name on the Internet so combining the two services I hope will lead to more interaction and grow traffic here. The integration allows for Facebook Connect login through Disqus to comment and hopefully to also publish activity to the newsfeed. The Disqus team rolled out the functionality just before Christmas but I am only just getting to write about it now as it's been a hectic few days.

If you are developing an application for the purpose of Facebook Connect login for Disqus, note that you will need your API Key and Secret Key as well as entering the Callback URL as (without the www's) when creating your application.

Many developers were under the impression that the cross domain receiver file must exist on the third-party’s website. Apparently Facebook changed the policy -
Disqus instructs users to simply enter as the callback URL when configuring a new application. That means that site owners aren’t actually required to upload a cross-domain receiver to their site. [Source]
Thanks to the intelligent development teams behind the scenes that have made this possible as I appreciate your hard work that has made it possible for my site to move closer to where I want it to be! Merry Christmas :)

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Rocking around the clock...

Christmas Day was the usual relay, back and forth from various family locations. At least I didn't have to contend a traffic jam on the motorway like last Christmas as that was fun! Instead we had a relaxed morning, opening our presents to Christmas classics being played on VH1. Still yet to wake up Christmas morning with my now family, last year I woke up with the older children and this year with my partner and our youngest child.

The older children's mother and I have an agreement whereby we have them alternating years on Christmas Eve and this year they were with her. I collected them from their grandparents midday for them to join us and open all their gifts at my parents. Then in the evening we finished our Christmas Day at my partners parents house before retiring home.

The children benefit most at Christmas, celebrating in multiple places with each location presenting more gifts for them to unwrap. I feel like I have drawn the short straw as I spent most of the day driving between places, can't complain though as it's great to see everyone and spread the goodwill.

I have stated on numerous occasions that I wouldn't use the iPhone as a platform to blog from but I'm writing to you now from the handset. I'm using as I'm not too sure of the applications available, are you blogging from the iPhone? If you are let me know what you are using and/or if there are any applications you recommend! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

For Santa - COCA COLA 1950Image by Joan Thewlis via FlickrMerry Christmas everybody, hope that you have an enjoyable festive period and that you get everything that you've wished for from Santa!

*less than 140 characters, is this Twitter :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Everybody having fun?

I make a promise to myself every year that I will complete my shopping well before Christmas, still I always seem to find myself rushing through the crowds on the final days. This year is no different as with moving house I am well behind so this week I have been late night shopping over Lakeside and also Oxford Street. It's been a rush but I feel like I have chosen well thought through and suitable presents for the recipients. I was hoping to find some inspiration from Carnaby Street but instead I encountered the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I am satisfied with what I have chosen and hopeful that the gifts are well received.

Tell me you see him...

First Day...

Usually the first day at work is an overwhelming experience but not if you are an adventurous five year old who is excited about Christmas. Today my son accompanied me to the office and it turned out to be a very eventful morning. We arrived late as my alarm didn't wake us but with it being Christmas Eve it wasn't too important. The office was like a toy store as we had given out our secret Santa presents Friday so he was in his element. There was a range of weaponry, a helicopter and an assortment of other toys all to keep him occupied.

After work - which didn't really get started - we headed home, thoroughly over excited from his morning and unable to contain his enthusiasm we found ourselves motionless at Bank station. The alarm on the train sounding loudly and there was my son looking nonchalantly around the carriage. Thankfully we weren't delayed too long but it was an uncomfortable few stops before we continued our journey onwards from the Underground.

Never a dull moment! :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let's poke it with a stick

Scoble, Longhorn EvangelistImage via WikipediaMichael Arrington is definitely laying claim to being one of the most influential/reaction provoking people on the Internet at the moment. I wrote about his comments about embargoes and what happened at LeWeb over the weekend and now Robert Scoble has become his latest topic to generate debate. Arrington notes in his blog post that he spoke to Robert Scoble briefly at LeWeb -
I spoke to Robert for a few minutes at the Le Web conference a couple of weeks ago. I said “You sure do like Twitter and Friendfeed.” His response - “Yeah, but I wonder if that was such a smart investment of my time.”
Robert has been prolific this year with his activity on Twitter and Friendfeed, his contribution adds up to more than a full time job (2,000 hours/year). From my interaction with the early adopter crowd his activity has stood out immensely, even with the amount of followers he takes the time to respond and involve himself within the community. Robert is a news junkie, the amount of information he digests is amazing, his blog may have suffered as a result but I feel that Robert has asserted himself into a strong position.

Many posts I have seen this year have talked about the demise of blogging, most notably Jason Calacanis who retired from blogging this year. The direction of blogging and interaction has changed, social networks playing a major role in shaping how we communicate with each other. I am really looking forward to 2009 and following people like Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington, Jason Calacanis and Louis Gray I know that whatever trend becomes popular they are the sources that will break the news.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

The sky is falling..

do you like my cristmas tree ?Image by ainasa via FlickrIt doesn't look like it's going to be a white Christmas, it also doesn't appear that we will have the Internet or satellite television for the festive period. That's right insane enough to move before Christmas but now it looks like as well as moving house we have also travelled back in time to the eighties. Not good, thankfully I have my parents house which is where I am writing from now.

Last minute Christmas shopping has proved to be as stressful as ever, it feels as if I have lost a week preparing everything to move house. A welcome break in between was my company Christmas party on Friday that I thoroughly enjoyed. The theme was James Bond and everyone was looking dapper in tuxedos and evening dresses. There was a champagne reception, followed by a meal which was very eventful and then everyone moved onto the dancefloor and casino. It was great fun and there are some funny pictures available on Facebook!

Moving house a week before Christmas wasn't as stressful as I had earlier thought as it went really well. Now comes the difficult task of finding places for everything in the boxes, most likely anything surplus to requirements will find it's way into storage. Am I ready for Christmas yet? I'm getting there and I'm sure once my shopping is finished I will be able to relax!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!

Michael ArringtonImage via WikipediaIt has been a busy few days and other than work I haven't been able to dedicate much time on a computer to update my blog. The iPhone is an amazing tech gadget but I don't think that I will be using it as a platform to blog anytime soon as writing a decent post does take research. Plus I use the Zemanta plugin to provide images and related sources.

Anyway to briefly summarise a story last week Michael Arrington of TechCrunch sent a shockwave through the tech industry in the form of the post Death To The Embargo -
PR firms are out of control. Today we are taking a radical step towards fighting the chaos. From this point on we will break every embargo we agree to...
This reverberated through the tech industry and everyone came forward to add their two cents. This followed on from comments Arrington made about LeWeb last week which also created a lot of debate. I feel that this has been blown out of proportion as Embargoes are broken all the time but what this does highlight is that there are PR firms that are damaging relationships and reputations.

Whatever the opinion on Michael Arrington it's clear that his comments are thought provoking and generate a reaction throughout the industry. TIME magazine have listed him as one of the most influential people in the world and from the evidence over the last week you wouldn't go against that claim. TechCrunch are also adopting the policy to 'out' PR people who are obnoxious, Lois Whitman was the first to be outed and I'm sure she won't be the last to be on the receiving end.
Yes, I am going to keep outing these people and their absurd behavior. - Arrington

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Claus is coming to Town

Had my daughters Christmas play yesterday morning, at first I didn't think that I would be able to attend as I had a migraine but the tablets I took sorted me out. The Christmas play was a lot different to my sons as he was in fancy dress and the layout of the Assembly Hall I felt was better at his play. The children were in great voice and my daughter who had told me at the weekend that she was looking to get her hair cut was there with her new short style smiling away. I really liked it and wanted to let her know after the performance but they rushed the children straight off to lesson unlike my sons who waited whilst parents were allowed to take photos.

Still not feeling Christmas even with just over a week to go but I think a lot of people are feeling that way this year. At least that is the impression I get speaking to my friends and reading articles online. I think it's a mixture of the economy, work and because we're finding it hard to detach and embrace the festive period. I suppose it would help if we at least had a Christmas tree in the office but that doesn't look like it will materialise this year which is disappointing! [Update 19/12 we now have a tree in the office]

This evening I arrived home to my children waiting for me and they had made me some Christmas trees which was on topic ;) Would love to be a child again as they're so innocent and full of anticipation for next week. What makes me laugh lately is that every time they visit my son arrives in his latest fancy dress outfit. Today he came as a pirate and he looked great, he was very tired though so all of us crowded around my sister as she played Playstation Home which looked really good.

It seems very much like guys in virtual worlds haven't seen many girls as they crowded around her and were trying to impressive with their dance moves. The Playstation I feel is still too expensive for what it offers but my children have shown interest a lot recently so may become a future purchase once the price drops!
Below are photos from this evening and from the pictures which child would you say was the easiest to photograph?


Crazy Frog
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Disqus to integrate with Facebook Connect

Image representing Disqus as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase, source unknownAs you know I have been wondering lately how sites like Disqus (that I use on my blog for comments) and Intense Debate will adapt to Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect -
I also wonder how interactive blog comment sites like Disqus and Intense Debate will be affected as this becomes more widely available.
With 130+ million users on Facebook it will be difficult for third-party commenting plugins like Disqus to compete. Especially as Facebook Connect provides another form of distribution for blogs by means of sending activity back to the newsfeed. Being able to publish comments back to Facebook is definitely appealing and functionality that I have embraced by commenting on sites integrated with Facebook Connect.

Well this evening it looks like Disqus has wisely chosen to integrate with Facebook Connect, a blog post from CEO Daniel Ha states that 'Disqus will enable all websites with Disqus-powered comments to easily integrate with Facebook Connect.' What this means is that -
  • Commenters can login using their Facebook profiles
  • Comments post to the Facebook news feed
Firstly if you don't already have a Facebook Platform API key for your site, create an application with the Facebook Developer application -
  1. Go to to create a new application.
  2. Enter a name for your application in the Application Name field.
  3. Click the Optional Fields link to see more entry fields.
  4. Keep all of the defaults, except enter a Callback URL. This URL should point to the top-level directory of the site which will be implementing Facebook Connect (this is usually your domain, e.g., but could also be a subdirectory).
  5. If your site is going to implement Facebook Connect across a number of subdomains of your site (for example, and, you need to enter a Base Domain (which would be in this case). Specifying a base domain allows you to make calls using the PHP and JavaScript client libraries as well as get and store session information for any subdomain of the base domain. For more information about subdomains, see Supporting Subdomains In Facebook Connect.
  6. You should include a logo that appears on the Facebook Connect dialog. Next to Facebook Connect Logo, click Change your Facebook Connect logo and browse to an image file. The logo can be up to 99 pixels wide by 22 pixels tall, and must be in JPG, GIF, or PNG format.
  7. Click Submit to save your changes.
  8. Take note of the API Key, you'll need this shortly. [Source]

Then navigate to the Disqus settings page and enter the Facebook API key into the field for Facebook Connect. This will then turn on Facebook Connect support for your site when it’s ready. Disqus will then begin enabling Facebook Connect for sites with API keys in place. They plan to have this available for everyone by the end of the year, I will update this post when this has been enabled for me!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

@Twitter @GoogleFriendConnect Hey Guys!

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase, source unknownGoogle have today announced that Google Friend Connect has integrated with Twitter. This means that when you join a friend connected site, you can choose to use your Twitter profile, discover people you follow on Twitter who are also members of the site, and quickly tweet that you have found a cool website.

Friend Connect supports logins from Google, Yahoo, AIM, and OpenID, I use my Google Account to login to the service and in the settings you will find the option to Add/Remove Networks. Located in this setting you will be able to connect a new network, as well as Twitter you can also use Orkut or Plaxo.

Press continue and you will be taken to a login screen where you will be asked to provide your Twitter username and password.

Once your Twitter login has been confirmed, you'll be returned to the Google Friend Connect settings window.

To retrieve your profile data from Twitter you need to enter your login details -

You'll now be able to see which of your Twitter contacts are already members of this and other Friend Connect sites.

You can invite Twitter contacts to visit this site wherever you see an "Invite" link.

After Twitter verification you will be taken back to your account Settings, it's here where you will be able to change the login profile

You will then receive a confirmation message detailing the following -
Your Twitter name and picture have been imported

You'll now be able to see which of your Twitter contacts are already members of this and other Friend Connect sites.

You can invite Twitter contacts to visit this site wherever you see an "Invite" link.

If you click the "invite" link that lives in most Friend Connect widgets, a popup window will open where you can click "share" and the select the Twitter option and Friend Connect will automatically take you to and pre-populate a tweet with the message "I'm looking at [URL of site]" making it easy to share links on Twitter.[Source]
Using the above mentioned sharing functionality, I shared with my Twitter followers that I was looking at my blog and below is a screenshot of how this is displayed -

The integration is definitely a positive for Friend Connect, it's also a strong statement from Twitter having overcome reliability problems earlier this year. Twitter has become the first third party service after Plaxo to integrate with Google’s new service and there is potential to expand on the features available. I would like to see the ability to share individual blog posts as that would be a feature I would use daily!

I highly rate Facebook Connect with the ability to share your activity back to your Facebook profile but I find that Google Friend Connect is much easier to implement. It's still very early days but this is proving to be an interesting battle, Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect are clearly the main players. I haven't really read too much into MySpaceID but I feel already they have lost significant ground. With Google Friend Connect being the main story today I am looking forward to Facebook's response...

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shall we sing a song for you?!

Chicken Makhani, murgh makhani, or Image via WikipediaLast night took us to Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, it's the first time that I have been here and although it wasn't what I expect we had a really good evening and will definitely return. The music wasn't modern, instead it was relaxed with the likes of Elvis getting everyone in the mood. Eager to sample more of the nightlife that Hoxton and Shoreditch had to offer we moved our party onwards.

Eventually arriving at Brick Lane we decided that instead of bars and nightclubs that we would enjoy a curry together. The meal was really nice and it's true what people say about Brick Lane as you can't beat the restaurants for Indian cuisine. I have enjoyed some really nice food over the last few days, Thursday we had Nando's and today we had Mexican. Last night we got to talking about other Indian takeaways and our friend informed us that her local restaurant also has egg fried rice available. Still waiting on proof before this is believed :)

After a morning of packing for the move next week I headed over to West London this afternoon to watch Chelsea take on West Ham at Stamford Bridge. The twist was that I would be in the Away stand with the West Ham fans and what an experience it proved to be as they were relentless. My friends weren't expecting anything from the game so just like everyone else in the stand when West Ham took the lead - through Craig Bellamy in the 33rd minute - the reaction was chaos. Apparently the television replays capture where we were sitting as Bellamy celebrated so I am sure amidst the chaos you will see me stood there cursing.
Stamford Bridge
At the start of the second half we saw the introduction of Didier Drogba who came on as a substitute for Michael Ballack. Chelsea continued to press and there was Anelka six minutes into the second half, the leagues top scorer to equalise, his 100th Premier League goal and earn Chelsea a point. The game could have gone either way with both teams having chances and I felt that we should have had a penalty when Lampard was brought down by Lucas Neill but it wasn't to be given. West Ham deserved their point, and nearly took all three! A win would have taken Chelsea top of the league but West Ham were well organised and made it very difficult, Zola and Clarke returning to the club for the first time were cheered by both supporters.

I forgot my place towards the end of the match, Deco looked uninterested in chasing the ball so I went to yell in his direction. Realised that several thousand West Ham fans would probably have responded on behalf of Deco so I remained composed.

Overall it was great fun and thanks to my friend and his West Ham companions as they made the match one to remember as did the rest of the travelling support. On this performance do I feel that Chelsea will win the title? I don't know but I have a feeling that it's going to be a long season and there will be many more frustrating matches like this to come!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fall from grace

The rain has been relentless today, what made conditions all the more difficult was watching my children and their dedication as they braved the weather to participate in their hobbies. It was presentation day at football and with the rain pouring I could tell that my son was struggling with the cold. I wrapped him up in a large padded jacket and tracksuit bottoms and he added in his Christmas hat which looked quality. He managed to hold it together and scored a long range goal and in doing so helped his team to victory. For his activity today and also over the last few weeks he received another certificate and also a medal.

Instead of my daughter attending her usual stables, today she was collected during the football presentation to go and ride one of our friends horses. After football we headed over and met up with them at the stables ready to watch my daughter ride the horse around the enclosure. To keep my son warm we stood at the gate dancing to music that I was playing from my iPhone. Then all of a sudden as the horse cantered forward my daughter lost her grip and fell onto the floor letting out a scream!

With the music still playing from my iPhone I raced to where she lay on the floor and lifted her up into my arms. It would have been more fitting had the Baywatch theme been playing and thankfully she was fine with the only impact being to her pride. She nervously got back onto the horse and trotted around the enclosure briefly before retiring to the car to change and sit in the warmth. I'm hoping the weather improves for this evening as we are heading into Central London to celebrate my partners birthday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Trying to connect the dots!

This is a video from from Dave Morin on how to Add Facebook Connect to Your Blog in 8 Minutes.

I have tried Dave but I am still making no progress with this and from discussion in the Facebook Developer forum it is not looking like I am going to be able to integrate my blog with Facebook Connect until someone releases a hack for Blogger. This doesn't work for me but that doesn't mean that it won't work for your blog so give it a try and let me know how you get on!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't you think this song is about you...

In the news yesterday was the story that 1,500 people from Yahoo were losing their jobs. I regularly read about companies reducing numbers but this story caught my attention for a different reason. Tokbox were sitting in a taco truck outside of Yahoo headquarters and handing out complimentary tacos and job applications.

I stated yesterday about my concerns regarding the activity at my company, thankfully those concerns were all laid to rest today with positive news that should keep us busy until Christmas. That said I remember similar scenarios in the past where we expected so much but got so little in return. Looking forward to next week now with anticipation!
Barcelo Lanzarote
Today was my partners birthday and I started the day with breakfast in bed and presents. The reaction to the presents was positive so I should be in the good books for a few days at least. After work I collected her and baby and we went for a meal at Nando's. I should have pre-booked as it was quite busy but it didn't take long for us to be seated. We then enjoyed a bottle of wine and waited whilst our food was prepared, the wait for food was longer than expected but the food was worth it. Baby wasn't interested until desert was presented to her and then she tucked into the yoghurt.

We are to be continuing the celebrations for her birthday this weekend although at the moment we are struggling to find a suitable venue/night club. Any suggestions drop me an email! :)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's the season to be stressful

A bauble on a Christmas tree.Image via WikipediaAt my work place you would be mistaken for thinking that we are in the midst of a product launch, there are lots of meetings occurring and the office is a buzz of activity. Many of my work colleagues - myself included - are concerned about what is taking place, especially considering the economic downturn. It's a worry and with no real substance being fed through to my department we're left to speculate what is taking place. I am positioned at the back of the office and I'm able to view the movement and developments and I'm starting to feel like Jason Bourne with my senses heightened -
I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside. I can tell you that our waitress is left-handed and the guy sitting up at the counter weighs two hundred fifteen pounds and knows how to handle himself. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking... [Source]
The activity isn't making the department very festive, we don't even have a Christmas Tree in the office at the moment. Instead everyone is hard at work with their tasks, I don't know whether the activity has created an edge but it doesn't feel like we are winding down to Christmas. It's like what Chris Brogan writes about in his post about the Seasonal Blues because that is exactly the atmosphere I am feeling at the moment. I had some final arrangements I had to sort out this evening with my children ready for tomorrow which is my partners birthday. Wednesday seems to pass so quickly now and it feels like I only have time to go through their homework with them before it's time for them to go home!
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My High School Musical

Christmas Play
The last few weeks being with my children has been like being on the set of a musical, they have been rehearsing their school plays by singing the songs constantly. I find it to be really cute as they will be playing a game and then the lyrics will start flowing and then it will slowly build until they are singing loudly. Yesterday presented the chance for me to experience my son's Christmas play and I couldn't wait to see him in action.

I collected their Grandfather and after locating a parking space we took our seats for the play. Their mother arrived and joined us shortly after and we then sat through the code of conduct from the head teacher. Once everyone had settled the performance began, my son acknowledged our seating position and was waving and I could see him informing his friends 'That's my Dad' and 'Look at my Dad's phone' as I was taking photos. My technology loving son, likely only interested in my attendance to show all of his friends the iPint (beer) application on the iPhone after the Christmas play. This appears to have become the norm whenever I visit their school lately!

The Christmas play was great fun and all the children were in great voice, I think the whole situation overwhelmed my son after the initial acceptance to us being there as he began blocking us from sight with his hands. This reminded me of last year which also saw a similar reaction! He was more professional this time and attempted to focus on keeping it together and singing the loudest! Check my Flickr photostream for photos from the play! As expected once the Christmas play had finished he was only interested in showing his friends the iPhone which made me laugh as he put on a demonstration!

After the Christmas play I took him along with my daughter to see the Doctor, this was because he had a required booster injection. Not the greatest way to celebrate his performance unfortunately but he didn't seem too fazed. My daughter has her Christmas play next week which I will also be attending and I can't wait!

Monday, December 08, 2008

We come one

Image representing Robert Scoble as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase, source unknownThis evening I participated in a tweetup which is basically where a group of people (twitterers) from the site Twitter come together in a gathering. The event/dinner was arranged by Robert Scoble who had stopped over in London on his way to Le Web '08 in Paris. I happened across his tweet (message) on Twitter and responded with an RSVP for the meal as he is a person I admire and wanted to meet personally since becoming involved with the early adopter crowd.

Robert and his family (Robert's wife Maryam and their son Milan) were staying at the Hilton London Metropole and this was to be where we would meet before moving on to the restaurant. I was nervous and on entering the bar area I nearly fell down the stairs. In the back of my mind was the knowledge that if I were to do something regrettable that it would be blogged about and immortalised online forever.

After introductions we headed to the Meshwar which is a Lebanese Restaurant, I sat with Robert's wife Maryam and other people from Twitter/Friendfeed. At first the seating plan felt as though we were speed dating but it soon settled and conversation flowed like we were close friends. After the first course Robert joined our table as just like all gadget lovers he was interested to learn more about the Canon 5D mk2 which one of the bloggers had brought to the meal. I enjoy photography and if I were to purchase a camera tomorrow it would be the Canon 5D mk2 as it's an impressive piece of equipment. I was really impressed with the Lens Baby which consists of a simple lens with a bellows for use in special-effect photography.

As the meal came to an end and everyone headed off into the night the only regret I had is that I didn't come with a business card as everyone was handing them out. I took a note-to-self and will be better prepared for next time. Thank you to Robert and Maryam for hosting the dinner as they are both charming and respectable people. It was also an experience to interact with bloggers with the same interests in person rather that virtually.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Deck the halls

Today is usually associated with being the day of rest but that wasn't to be the case. Luckily my family were on hand to provide assistance and also that there were just enough hours in the day to complete the tasks. Most of the household products that aren't used or break find themselves retired to the garage. Over the course of the year this has built up to a reasonable amount of unnecessary 'baggage' so our first task was to figure out what was worth salvaging and to take the remainder to the waste site.

In between the journeys to the waste site I also had to collect a cabinet that my partner had bid for on eBay and take my daughter horse riding. It wasn't until late in the afternoon when it settled so I purchased a Christmas tree with my daughter to take home and decorate. It was wider than what I expected but it looks great...