From Yorkshire To Virginia

Sunday, July 30, 2006

iPod mini woes fixed

So every now and again our iPod mini would stop in the middle of a podcast or song and skip to the start of the next one. This started getting really frustrating as it meant that I would have no idea as to whether I could get through an entire podcast. This problem went on for a couple of weeks, then lo and behold, the iPod mini stopped talking to the computer. We'd hook it up as usual (so we'd get the latest podcasts), but the machine would refuse to see it... What to do? Well I reformatted it. Now the pc and the iPod are talking once again, and it hasn't skipped once in about a month (seems like there's some bad memory in there, and the reformat tagged it as such, so it doesn't get used). Now I can listen to The Now Show, The Daily Searchcast, Fighting Talk, or Doctor Who without worry... happy days :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Wonderful Excel

No, really :)

There's one function that I had to research and figure out about 4 months ago that I have used over and over again in reporting that I've had to do. It's cut down the time and made things so easy for me. What is it you ask? Well, you probably don't, but tough I'm going to tell you anyway.


the match function goes to sheet 1 and tries to find a match for the contents of cell A20 on this sheet with a cell in the range c4-c447. When it find a match it returns a number, which gets added to the 3, to point to the row in column E that matches the result I want. The indirect function then returns me the actual contents of that cell. I love it. It enables me to link across various spreadsheets and compile aggregate reports for management, which they like.

Hopefully that's cured your insomnia ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Independently Wealthy!

Yes, I did it, I'm living the dream... tonight I received a check from the Virginia lottery. Well I'm not going to write much now, I'm off to shop for a Rolls...

The killer app

So when the first cell phones came out, I'm sure that they were seen as the killer app for telecommunications. Giving anyone the ability to make phone calls that usually go through and don't always sound like you're doing a Norman Collier impression before losing the connection. But when you think about it these days, cell phones have so many more features on them that they've become the killer app for other applications... For instance, I no longer use my alarm clock, I use my cell phone. Before my last birthday I didn't wear a watch, I didn't need one, I'd just look at my cell phone (heck I even took it to England even though it didn't work there, just so I could know the time). I don't need to take a camera places with me anymore, I take my cell phone. Yesterday in a meeting I used it (my new Motorola V325) as a calculator to quickly figure out a costing issue. Current advertising shows that the phone companies want to use it to replace MP3 players, iPods, etc, and heck you can even put your phone in speaker phone mode now so that everyone can hear the music.

It makes me think about the products that we produce at work. How can we apply 'the cell phone idea' to our products, and come up with killer apps that are slightly to the side of what we do? It's something to think about.

What's this blog about? Part II

Well, it's pretty much about me, does that make me different from other bloggers? Not according to the following survey results, that talk about what responders said their blogs were about :)

37% My life and personal experiences (diaries, journals)
11% Politics and government
7 % Entertainment (movies, music, MP3 blogs)
6 % Sports
5 % General news and current events
5 % Business
4 % Technology (computers, internet, programming)
2 % Religion/Spirituality/Faith
1 % A particular hobby
1 % Health (general health, an illness)
18% Other
3 % Don’t know/Refused
Pew Internet and American Life Project Survey

Friday, July 21, 2006

What's this blog about? Oh Yeah...

When I first started this blog, I posed the question "What's this blog about?", well here's the answer (the more times a word appear the larger it shows)

Sports on the radio

So yesterday I got to drive Kim's car, as she drove her mother back to Pennsylvania in mine. This meant that I got to listen to the satellite radio. Flipping through the channels I came across one in the middle of the sports area that was broadcasting poker on the radio... I can barely understand the success of this on the tv, although I will admit to having it on a couple of times, but on the radio? Then again, is it really that different from any other sport where the announcers have to paint a picture in your mind? Maybe not...

Late to the party

No, not my company picnic from yesterday. I made it to that on time, and even managed to leave after most (I somehow got roped into more games of volleyball that my body is complaining about this morning). I'm actually talking about Netflix. We signed up 2 days ago figuring that in the long run it'll be cheaper that our local video store. For those that don't know, Netflix mails you the movies from your list, and when you watch them you mail them back. There's no time limit on watching them (in fact they'd prefer you to keep them for longer, it cuts down their costs). Anyway, I went into the ordering system and took a look for movies to add to my queue. I was thrilled to see that they have a lot of British movies/tv that you don't normally see in the movie stores. So my first movie that should arrive today is an old Dr. Who episode. Soon it'll be followed by a series or 2 of "Not the nine o'clock news", the first 6 series of "Only Fools and Horses", a couple of "Carry On" films, and more. We should have joined this a lot sooner :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gwyneth's first homework

So for her first day of school in September, Gwyneth has to sit down with us and go through 5 books, she then has to draw a picture of each book to illustrate what she thinks happened, then she has to dictate what's happening in her drawing. Here's her go at "Little Miss Whoops" by Roger Hargreaves, pretty close eh? :)

...and how about a bit of Beatrix Potter?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I swear it moved!

So I came across an interesting use of animated gifs. I was looking at the comic strip - "For Better or Worse" - and I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. Attributing it to lack of sleep, or sheer craziness, I ignored it, until I saw more movement from a different area. Watching the strip intently I saw the various characters blink. It's an interesting thing that they've done, I'm not really sure on the benefit, although I suppose it does make the characters seem more human? Take a look and see what you think.

Be careful what you write about...

...people are watching. This article is about a woman who wrote an article about how to survive xmas with her Republican parents. 2 years later her parents did a Google search and found the article that she'd never mentioned... they are no longer on speaking terms...

The challenge when writing articles (like I'd know) or a daft blog like this one, is that you have to remember that what you write is always going to be out there, even if you go back and change it at a later date, it'll still be somewhere. So don't attack your parents / spouse / children / co-workers / boss / etc because the chances are that they'll see it one day, and then you'll hear about it...

(update: added link to a story about a blogger fired from her company for blogging. Probably not wise for her being in France to refer to the France as the land of the frogs...)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Party time

Today we spent a lovely afternoon at Gwyneth's pal Hailey's 5th birthday party. Pictures available on Flickr


A follow on from my last post on Frog Hunting

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Be vewy vewy quiet...

Last night we had Jen, Todd, Zachary and Mackenzie over for dinner. We'd all had our salad and lasagne, and we were well into a nice conversation when we noticed that we were shy two kids, looking out the window we saw "The Frog Hunters"(tm) (the blue lips are thanks to ice pops).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

American Girl

Well, I guess this proves that Gwyneth's an American girl... ah well, at least I got her to watch the penalties in the World Cup final (she kept yelling out "Go England", even though I told her they weren't playing ("I know Daddy, I'm just pretending")), oh and when one shot went wide she did tell me that she'd have kicked it and scored :)

She does have good hand eye co-ordination (and likes to pose) ;)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Making 85k+ without really trying

W3C, for those not in the know, is an organization that dedicates itself to setting standards and guidelines for the development of the World Wide Web. It's been around since 1994, issuing white papers and guidelines the whole time. Their site has a Google page rank of 9/10 which is absolutely fantastic, so they've decided to cash in on it, and sell links from their site, under the guise of sponsoring W3C. So for a donation of $1k+ annually, you can get a link to your site, which will help your site with it's own rankings. Obviously so far 85+ companies feel that it's worth it...

Say, wanna buy a link? I'm much cheaper than W3C ;)

Physicists bash US World Cup team

You know it's bad when physicists start talking smack about a sporting team...

Marti points to a book called "Great Mambo Chicken," which tells of a scientific experiment in which a researcher put several chickens in a centrifuge and raised them in twice-normal gravity for months at a time. When they emerged, the chickens were stronger and had larger bones and muscles, and greater endurance. In other words, they were superchickens..."If only," Chen sighed, "we had done that to the U.S. soccer team."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

America's Got Talent (Not)

(for those in the UK, Simon Cowell has a talent show over here, very Pop Idol like, with the judges being Brandi, Piers Morgan (Mirror Editor), and The Hoff...)

Next on the reading list...

"How Soccer explains the world" by Franklin Foer. Apparently it explains globalization, the Israel / Palestine conflict, American culture, the hope of Islam, and many other issues, using soccer (or football to everyone outside this country) as a comparative case study. I read a couple of pages, and it sounded very intriguing, so out came the card and it's now on my desk ready to be read. :)

Damn you Kelly Clarkson ;)

Yes, Nissan Pavilion has opened up again for the season, so the traffic around here is terrible once more. Thankfully it's a Thursday so the back roads weren't too bad (or it could be that not so many people went to see the former American Idol winner). Tomorrow night is Journey & Def Leppard... which means that if I leave after 4pm tomorrow I may as well not bother, and should stay near work until 7pm...

The Paperless Society

My first day at University there was a lecture where the lecturer (Janet Davison) spoke about how with computerization we'd soon have a paperless office. I've not seen this particular phenomenon, if anything computers have created more paper, as people print out everything over and over again, really all they've led to is a carbon-less office. That was until tonight, when I was at the local (national chain) book shop and saw paperless books. Yes, there have been books on tape and books on cd, but this is the first time I've seen books on dedicated MP3, complete with headphones. They're a bit pricey, but over time they should get cheaper, then books look out...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July

So tonight we went to the largest firework display in Virginia, and it was 5 minutes down the road in Manassas. Gwyneth thoroughly enjoyed it.