Best comparison,.. EVAR!!111

This comment on BBC News' site in the article about "EU fines Microsoft record $1.4bn" makes me giggle.
I find it amazing that the EU can put sanctions on a company, who are to them ''anti-competition'' Yet have a complete monopoly on money in the form of the Euro. If it didn't make me laugh, it'd make me cry!
Richard Wilkins, Westbury, Wiltshire, Uk.
That's like "TEH BEST EVAR COMPARISAN!!!!!11111oneoneone". Let's see... comparing Microsoft's unwillingness to let other software companies take part in their operating system and its communication with other software with a currency. I'm sure there are countries that have more than one legal currency (most of EU had that in the transition to Euro), but I'm pretty sure that, whatever the situation about one or more currencies is, currencies are not a "free market". I'm sure that you could, like Peter Griffin, set up your own country (Petoria in Peter's case) and create a currency, but most people would probably laugh at you. On top of this EU doesn't have a "monopoly" on money (harharhar!) as the almighty Euro has got it's bratty second cousins along it; Swedish Krona, Danish Krona and the Great Britan Pound (let's forget the "nameless" ones of Monaco, the Vatican state etc..).

So, dearest "Dicky" it did indeed make me laugh! Next time someone talk about "Comparing apples to pears" I'll just interject with a much stronger "Comparing anti-competitive behaviour to currencies."


And then Electric Six!

And then we went to see Electric Six! Awesome! The gig was good, music was great. E/6 isn't my top-notch-favourite, but it sure is up there with the best. Their way of mixing in a bit of disco-beat into very cool and heavy guitar riffs is very cool (probably because I don't like disco and find it a bit funny :P) Apart from a few w*nk*rs that just had to push themselves in front of us, it was a top gig! :)
Fire on the dance floor!

Tonight; Nandos first

We're out in Oxford tonight, and first on the schedule is a hot half chicken at Nandos! Yummy!! Oh! And a few Super Bocks too. :)


Sometimes it has to be said this way

I just got sent this link, and it almost made me laugh out loud and spit my chewing gum on my computer. The article is called 10 things every adult should know. IMFO, I think the whole globe should have a serious think about maybe we should be learning these sort of things instead of spending money and time on politics and religion. Imagine how much better we'd all be off if we'd actually know things like these. I think my favourite is #8, a point which I think many people would benefit from knowing.
Anyway, made me laugh. Oh, and BTW, contains the F-word (not the Ramsay TV show, but what he utters) and other "profanities" (they're all true though!).


Wireless stereo speakers

I finally got them. YAY!
A bit of background. I've always been one of those who'd rather hide a computer in a cabinet than show it off on the desk. I hate cables and clutter in general. When I switched to my MacBook, I got rid of a total fo 4 CRT monitors from my desk and two PCs from underneath it. Needless to say the amount of cables was horrible.
Since the first day of Bluetooth, I've been a bit gutted by the 10m distance; 15 or 20 would have been better, but also the lack of stereo audio streaming. Well, the second part has been corrected (and yes, I know there's 100m BT devices; but it's pointless unless both are 100m) with the A2DP profile. Sadly it's take very long for the A2DP profile to trickle through both in hardware and software. In fact, I can still see tons of more hardware to pop into the market.
Anyway, I'm trying to achieve a clutter-free work-environment (my papers and notes are clutter enough!) so I've been yearning to get rid of cables as much as possible. I'm happy to announce that today one has disappeared! URHAY!!
Yesterday I won an auction on eBay for a set of Acoustic Energy Bluetooth Speakers (29-06), they are in fact from the Acoustic Energy seller itself, so straight from the horse's mouth. To my amazement they arrived today (next day) despite saying 2 - 3 working day delivery. I said "finally" in the first paragraph, and the reason for this is that I had ordered these speakers from MobileFun.co.uk (not so fun!?) earlier. They were really cheap and would only cost me just above £50 delivered, but they've since my order discontinued the speakers and canceled my order. *snief* Everywhere else I found them they were priced closer to £100, and to me that was too much. I was very pleased to see them on eBay; especially as they were sold by AE themselves. I was even more pleased when I got them for just over £50 delivered. :)
The reason for going for these speakers is that they're black... no seriously, these speakers seem to be the only speakers that you can actually separate from each other to achieve a stereo sound, in fact, they're in three pieces, two speakers and the "control" part with the volume control etc. All pictures I've seen showed them as two pieces with the left speaker detachable. All other BT Speakers seem to be aimed at teenager's bookshelves. No thanks, I want at least 1m between my speakers.
These speakers are replacing my Creative I-Trigue 2200 speakers, and whilst the I-Trigues are OK, they get a bit tiring after a while, and sound quality on higher volumes just don't cut it.

Either way, I unpacked (why is it called unboxing these days?!) the speakers, had a read of the A5 page called a manual about how to pair them with my computer. Turn them on, hold the button for 8 seconds. Go to your BT control panel, search for devices, enter default passcode 8888, wait, and computer asks if you want to use these "headphones", answer yes, and the music starts pumping out. Easy peasy. Just for the record (not propaganda) this was on MacOS X Leopard 10.5.2.
The sound is much better than what I was used to with a distinctive bass coming through. Nice! I haven't compared a wired vs Bluetooth connection, as the BT connection is good enough. Initially I had some scratching once in a while (but it might have been the track?!), and when I disconnected the speakers I the sound disappeared completely. Probably traveled to /dev/null *giggle*snort*giggle*.
It's all working fine now and I can feel that I might become a bit more picky about which tracks I listen to...
Let it rock!


Patch, my de-stresser

This gorgeous cat is Patch. I find her presence incredibly relaxing. Who could be stressed when she's lying next to me like this?!? Lovely cat! :)

If in doubt, restart the Rails server

I'm beginning to learn this the hard way; If things aren't changing, if there's error messages that are totally random, if things don't change no matter how much you backtrack.... restart you application server(s) when developing in Ruby on Rails.
I've been sitting here getting more and more frustrated, breaking my code just to try to get the error messages to disappear... to no avail. Until I've restarted the application (web) server. And everything has worked fine. So, my tip is; restart often, especially if you're tinkering in places like /lib/.


Remember Bon Scott today

For most people Bon Scott is either a true legend or someone you don't know (but have heard). To me, he's the former. He's the front man, along with the Young brothers, that made AC/DC into the historical behemoth it is today.
As it happens, 28 years ago today, Bon was found dead in a friends car in London. I don't feel I need to bore you with more details; they're all available on that WiKipedia page.
In my opinion Bon's last record with AC/DC; "Highway to Hell" is the best AC/DC album ever made (so far..??). The album is very "rock-y", but still distinctively AC/DC without turning too "metallicy". Sure "Back in Black" is a fantastic album, and probably deserves the fame it has got, but to me, the most AC/DC album of them all is "Highway to Hell". Something that will never (???) be bettered, as Bon had a unique way of singing (screaming?) but his lyrics are also very fun to listen to.
Bon; always missed.

HD wars are over, finally

Todays big news is that the "format war" between HD DVD and Blu-Ray disks are finally over. This is an all over "Good Thing(tm)" for the consumer (that's me!), but I'm still a bit annoyed over the ways this whole "war" was fought.
The first thing that annoys me, or rather saddens me, is that HD DVD didn't win. I'm no HD anorak, but I do know that whilst Blu-Ray is primarily Sony's contraption (and we will not forget Sony's ways of invading your computer with malware, or their boneheadedness with formats like Atrac, MiniDisc and UMD) the HD DVD format is governed by the DVD consortium. To me this is a good thing; I love standards (be it HTML, metric or whatever). Having one company (primarily) governing over a consumer standard isn't the ultimate solution, IMFO, anyway.
The second thing that gets to me is how Sony undermined the market by sticking the (at the time fairly premature) Blu-Ray into the Playstation 3 (and the PS3 was sold at a huge initial loss to get it to market). This move meant that PS3 players were counted as "HD players" in the wild. An extra bonus for Sony was that some stores bundled Blu-Ray movies onto the sales of PS3, which also counted as "sales". This all worked in the stats, and you know that there's "Lies, damn lies and statistics". This in turn led to headlines in the region of that "The consumer has voted" for Blu-Ray becuause the sales figures reported over 1 to 3 in BD favour. Well, I'll let you in on something; I'm a consumer and I didn't vote in the "HD format war". There's plenty of statistics on The Register to see how it shaped up, and it's easy to see that PS3 played a huge deal in promoting Blu-Ray. Without it there wouldn't have been a single HD player-type in anyone's living room (or PS3s in bedrooms?!). Microsoft, who's one of the HD DVD backers, could have bundled the HD DVD player with the XBox360, but they chose not to (probably because it was premature and it would have been to expensive), instead you can buy an HD DVD add-on player for the XBox360, and as long as the coolest games don't come on HD DVD for the XBox360 this isn't going to rival the PS3.
A bit of an unfair game in my opinion.
The last thing that makes me sad is that the HD DVD discs and players were always cheaper than the Blu-Ray ones, this has got a huge impact on me as I'm interested in HD, but I don't see it as some sort of magic revolution. I'd like HD, but I don't really care if one is 5% better than the other, because HD is 100% better than "standard-D" (numbers made up for illustrative purposes). As of today, you can pick up an HD DVD player for about £200, whereas the Blu-Ray is about £300 (numbers as I recall from arbitrary adverts), this is a big difference IMO, and the big question now is: "Are Blu-Ray players going to drop in price, or are they going to sit there because they've already got the "monopoly"?" - I'm not going to give stuff away for free, and I doubt Sony et al. will either (especially as they need to recoup the initial PS3 subsidiary). Cue high player prices and cartels surrounding the disks.
All in all, I think the consumer got the shorter straw on this one, and I'll be forced to buy a format that I, as a consumer, don't really support.
HD DVD, you never were, but I already miss you. Vaya con Dios. Rant over, return to your positions.



It's that inevitable time again; time for a new set of tyres for my motorbike. After enjoying two, (or was it three) sets of Metzeler Sportec M3 tyres on my bike, it's time to change. Not because the Sportec M3s are bad, on the contrary, I love them, but I'm looking for a bit more sporty tyre. And as Pirelli and Metzeler are joined at the hip, I'm going for the Sportec M3 equivalent Pirelli Diablo Corsa III. This tyre, as far as I know, has got a bit sportier characteristics than the Sportec M3, so I'm quite keen on this tyre. I've also decided to go for a 190/55 section rear tyre, rather than the standard 190/50 section. This means that my rear is even higher, which in turn should help the bike drop in, and also give the tyre a bit better profile. They were £218 fitted to loose wheels and with a £25 off voucher I think they'll be a bargain.
Can't wait to ride them! :D

The Subprime Primer

I really found the Subprime Primer a very funny read (use your arrow keys to browse between the slides). Mainly because it's so true. There are greedy people all over the world who's trying their utmost to make money out of things that aren't actually are capable of making money. My friend said that "the news needs to put this on to explain it to people :P" to which I replied: "BLASPHEMY!!! 'The People' isn't supposed to know, they're just supposed to get tax rebates to spend more!"
This is exactly why I stopped studying economics at Uni... it's pointless and filled with these sort of "geniuses".



This is rather splendid, chaps! Ta very much Tony and Clare! :)


Rant and thanks

This day has been a total waste, but there's still time to save it. Apart from having a big run-in with some flu I've been working on my PDF generating code in Ruby (and Rails) using PDF::Writer. First I got frustrated becuase PDF::Writer didn't import my PNG images I had exported. And I just could not find anywhere what specs to use to make my PNGs PDF::Writer compatible. I then decided to bother the original author, Austin, which was a bit of a blunder, becuase he's a) not maintaining PDF::Writer anymore, and b) very busy. Sorry for bothering you, Austin, but thanks very much for taking time to reply to my email (I doubt I would have got that from a huge software house).
Sadly, I got even more frustrated (whilst waiting for Austin's reply) as I confirmed that I was unable to use any other colour than grey once I had used it for the first time. Lemme explain; I create a header in a PDF, and then a footer. I want the footer (or header) to be grey. But once a grey text has been written, all subsequent elements are grey - within the loose objects, and loose objects are objects that you can place on all pages, such as a logo, or a header/footer. I spent a long time trying to a) pinpoint the problem, b) work around it. To no avail.
After Austin had replied to me I started bothering the guys on the PDF-Writer Google Groups, including the current maintainer, Greg. I posted about my two problems (acutally three). To my surprise Greg acknowledged my post immediately, so now I know that help is far from impossible. I have since 'polished' my problem, so that it's easier to spot.
What annoys me is that the documentation is quite sparse, and there seems to be little information out there, but at the same time, I feel much more joy that I'm dealing with real people here, people that a) have email address', b) actually bother reading their email and c) fantastically reply to the emails. This gives me great hope as I believe that these guys can actually fix this problem, and hopefully by posting the problems to public forums and lists (as opposed to internal big-corporate Notes/Exchanges) someone else will benefit from this, and thus negating my statement about my day being wasted. Ain't OpenSource cute!?! :)
Either way, I think my work-energy is depleted for today, so I'm going to wiggle out to the garage and work on my bike. I'll get a mug of anti-flu stuff, and perhaps a whiskey to kill off the germs too... ;)


Gadgets; external disc and UPS.

I was told I had to blog this. The shiny black thing with a blue led is my WD 250GB 2.5" external disk to use with Time Machine. The larger black thing is a small UPS that's going up on the loft with the servers to protect them from dodgy powers. I sith you not.


Breakfast at Fox's

Mmmm. A real good breakfast at Fox's Diner sets you up well for the day. Yummy!!


Patch Playing in the stairs

Here's Patch playing with one of her favourite toys, the girl... no, the orange spotted mouse, thingy. She (Patch that is) just can't leave it on the top of the stair post, she has to push it down.



I'm at Thoughtworks' geeknight listening to Kresten talking about running Ruby on JVM. Interesting indeed! :-D
After some pizza, we're now listening to Karl talk about Fibers in Ruby 1.9... Sadly I'm not going to install Ruby 1.9 on my machine so I won't be able to do the examples in his workshop. Nevertheless, it's very interesting. :)

More coffee

Just another pic me the coffee delivery.

I'm sampling the Jacobs Caffee Crema (top left in the picture) at the moment, and it's very nice, a bit watery (I have a big mug), but very nice. Mmmmmmm, coffee!

Tassimo coffee delivery.

This delivery just arrived. Don't know which one to try yet, but I'm very excited. Kind of sad, I know. :)


No prizes won for this one

You might think this is a competition, but it's not. Kippis!!

I have problems typing

I'm having serious problems typing on my keyboard. The picture might explain why. :)

Police should do their jobs

I know the header is provocative, and I'm sure that the Police actually do their jobs, but I've now got your attention, so please let me elaborate a bit.
On the 4th Feb 08 MCN published an article saying that the Police wants £300 from you if your bike has been stolen. WHAT?!?! Why don't the offer free trips to the prison where they huddle up a bunch of thieves to kick you in the face too, no, why not have a mandatory charge for it!
Jeebus, I've had two bikes stolen from me, neither recoverd. So I'm kind of glad that I wouldn't be in a position where the Police has recovered my precious wonderful bike, now vandalised to a piece of junk, and on top of that I'd have to pay £300 to get it recovered?!?! What an insult to the injury.
The real fact is, that if the police would actually catch the thieves and put them in jail, bikes wouldn't get stolen. No more of this lallygaggin, fannying around; if you're a thief, you go to jail. Therefore my bike/car/garden furniture/DVD player/etc won't get stolen, and nobody would have to deal with this sh*t.
In the past I've actually advocated insurance companies to not provide insurance for theft; this in turn would put a huge pressure on the police force to prevent theft (and thieves couldn't "justify" their "career" with the simple line "They've got insurance anyway"). It would be a win-win situation, but naturally, living in a world where "The Economic Man" rules, no individual would want to put their precious possessions on the firing line. It's not going to happen.
Still the Police and whoever came up with this £300 fee should really look into removing it completely. Why not have their items stolen, vandalised, and then have them paying £300 to get them back..?! I'm sure that'd put things into a better perspective.
Best thing would obviously be to catch the actual thief, make him repair the item in question, including working to pay for parts, and fitting the parts.

Rant over... back to work..!


My mug is on!

My new mug tells me when it's on and when it's off. It's very cool. Yay!