A strange experiment…

Well, not really an experiment, more a consequence… Huh? well, I previously blogged about dropping my laptop, it’s now away getting looked at and I’m not sure if it will get fixed or replaced. Anyway, it means we could be without a computer at home for a month!!!

So, Annie and I are treating this as an interesting experience, it’s funny how often you jump on the web to check out something or your email. When you can’t do it it’s kind of weird.

On the plus side it means we should have more time to do some work on the house ;) or watch cable.


Bored? Why not ‘Blog Spam’ yourself?

My own blog’s comments got spammed this week with 11 posts linking to a website trying to sell some drug. I thought it’d be funny to ‘Blog spam’ myself, rather just wait for someone to post comment spam in my blog I’d just post random spam’ish comments! I’m not going to, maybe another time!

Well, what’s new? I’ve had a funny idea for a way to raise money to add stuff to the new outdoor concrete skatepark, not that the park isn’t gonna be awesome to skate but there’s plenty of scope to add things to it. Also there’s no floodlights for it at the moment so it’d be awesome to be able to get cash for that, plus adding things like grind ledges is possible too.

So, what’s the idea? Heard of the Million Dollar Homepage? Well, we’re gonna do the ‘500,000 pixel homepage’ instead!!! Basically the idea is to sell blocks of 20 x 20 pixels for £25 a pop, if we did happen to sell them all it would actually raise £31,250 which would be amazing.

So, if you’ve got something you want to advertise online or you know someone that does, or you just want to support and help improve this awesome skatepark then give me a shout, I have some pixels for sale!!!

On a family note Natalie is a bit sick this week, she’s been home from nursery all week (although she went on Monday but was sick), she’s been waking up a bit at night so Mommy and Daddy’s sleep pattern has been a bit disrupted, hence I woke up at 9:48am this morning! Good job I’m my own boss.

Oh yeah, Google Maps has updated some of the satellite images for the UK, my house is now very visible! And, no that’s not a real space shuttle beside my house (These satellite images are 2 or 3 years old as the shuttle is no longer there). You might need to click on the zoom tool (left hand side) as it seems to come up one step out when you follow that link sometimes, my house is just below the red pointer – black roof white yard with white walls.


Insomnia, Insomnia, Insaawwwwmnia…

Mmm, can’t seem to get to sleep tonight, I stayed up late watching TV, then when I went to bed I couldn’t sleep (Darn Start Trek Voyager! Somebody just get rid of the Holodec already, it’s always causing trouble…).

So I thought I’d wander around downstairs for a bit, then I remembered I hadn’t blogged since last week. Well, what’s happened since then? MacWorld San Francisco came and went and gave us some interesting goodies from Apple, new iMac and new ‘MacBook Pro‘ laptops (the name does grow on you, but the impending loss of the ‘PowerBook‘ brand is hard to take a bit).

Mr. Powerbook, meet Mr. Floor.

On the subject of Powerbooks, unfortunately my 4 year old Titanium PowerBook G4 had a bit of an accident last Sunday, I was about to leave the house to head down to The Gate with it in my bag when the strap came unclipped and it went, “thuuummmp.” to the floor. The words, “Oh crap” came to mind.

I didn’t check it until I got down the road, I took it out and, yep, a big crack on the left hand corner of the upper titanium casing with a couple of smaller cracks at other points. The bottom of the case at the corner was peeling back and had a bent bit pushed out where something inside had squeezed out. I managed to push it back in a bit and pushed the bottom of the case up into place a bit.

Fortunately the machine still works, it came awake quite happily when I opened it up and it seems to work ok. It just looks pretty wrecked now! Kind of a sad thing to happen after all the hard work we’ve done together! Hopefully it should be covered by my business insurance but I’m not sure how that will work out because of the age of the machine.

Nursery rhymes with, um… Penguin?

…Well, Natalie started Nursery last week, she goes every morning from 8.50am until 11.20am. She was really excited about starting and she’s really enjoyed it. There’s been a lot of painting and art going on, so any relatives or friends are liable to be gifted with some genuine Natalie artwork! It’s been fun getting up in the morning with Natalie around as Natalie and Annie were usually asleep when I got up for work before. Now Natalie comes shuffling through to our room when she hears our alarm go off. It’s very cute when she appears still in her grobag having negotiated the stairs still wearing it!!!

Today Annie took Natalie to see the movie ‘March of the Penguins‘ at the DCA, Natalie enjoyed it mostly but they left early as Natalie said, “I is a bit bored now Mummy”. It was a bit slow for the length of movie so it’s maybe not surprising. Oh, and apparently Morgan Freeman needed to just shut up for a bit so we could hear the antarctic instead. I think that’s what Annie said anyway! :) I’ve still never been to the movies with Natalie yet, although this was only her second time having watched Madagascar previously.

Sunday Morning Live Saturday Night Live

After what seems like ages we finally managed to go live for the first time last Sunday broadcasting the church service at The Gate. It was a small scale start with only a 160 x 120 pixel MPEG4 movie stream but it seemed to work pretty well.

Our main limitation just now is that our broadband connection only has 256kb upload capacity which limits us as the church already does an audio broadcast too. However, we should be getting an additional connection purely for the video feed and this will also have a 512kb upload, so hopefully we’ll be able to do a 320 x 240 pixel stream soon.

If you want to check it out go to The Gate website and click on the ‘Live Audio’ link and you’ll see the links for the audio and video streams. They are only active on Sunday morning between about 10.30am – 1pm UK time. That’s an approximate timescale, the meeting runs from 11am until about 12.30pm but sometimes it runs over a bit.

There will also be an archive of previous weeks audio and video which are already in the larger format, I’m still working on the system for that though.

If anyone is interested in the technical details of how this all works then here’s a quick overview of the setup used:

Internal encoding kit:

  • Apple Mac Mini (1gb Ram) OSX 10.4
  • 160gb External Firewire RAID array
  • Miglia Analogue to Digital converter
  • 17″ LCD monitor
  • Wirecast software

External Broadcast server:

And finally…

I just wrote quite a bit there, that’s about it for now though really. Oh yeah, the out-door concrete skatepark is almost finished now, go to www.dundeeconcrete.com to check it out, hopefully another couple of weeks or so and then I can skate it!

Let’s hope I can sleep now…

Good night ;) z z z z z z z z


If you’re going to San Francisco…

Well, I’d like to be there today anyway!


MacWorld San Francisco 2006 of course!!!

It’s that time of year when every MacGeek get’s all excited wondering what new stuff Apple will announce! You know it’s ominous when you try to access the Apple Store UK and you get this screen:

Apple Store UK Splash screen

So what’s new?

I’m just keeping an eye on Macrumorslive.com where there are up to the moment text updates about Steve Jobs keynote talk, this is where all the goodies get announced, so far there’s a new remote control with FM tuner for the iPod, I’ll update this post in a little while with some more info!!!

Ok, another update, New iMac’s running intel processors, and also a new laptop now called the ‘MacBook’ running on intel too! ooh, baby!

If you’ve ver thought about buying a Mac then now is a good time!


Happy Birthday Natalie!

Today is my daughter Natalie’s 3rd birthday, last night we had a party and invited a few people over. Here’s a few photo highlights:

One happy Snow White...
Natalie was (and still is!) L O V I N G this dress! She really wanted to go to bed with it on, but I managed to persuade her it wasn’t a good idea!

Angels gotta eat...

Even Angels gotta eat! I think this is her ‘grumpy’ face, another Snow White vertically challenged character reference.

Ooh, candles!
Cake! Pink! Just as she requested! (‘Happy’)

Cinderella dress
Ooh, a Cinderella dress too! There were more costume changes than a Christmas pantomime!

Jemima, Natalie and Jay
A group shot: Jemima, Natalie and Jay. You can see Jay ‘helping’ Natalie open a present by operating her hand for her!

Thank you to everyone who bought Natalie a gift, she was deluged with pressies and had a great party!


What’s in a name?

I’ve just been doing some work revamping my blogging app and I’ve decided that I’d like to give it a name and brand it. So, what to call it? There’s so many applications out there, so many websites, how do you come up with a good name?

After doing a bit of googling for names I found this interesting article over on the Firewheel Design site, ‘Four Concentric Circles of a Web 2.0 Name‘.
Josh from Firewheel has come up with four categories of names used in applications:

  1. The Literal Name (DropSend, Meetup etc…)
  2. The Metaphor (Mint, Digg, Flock etc…)
  3. The Pseudo Abstract (Del.icio.us, Flickr, Odeo etc…)
  4. The Cab Calloway (Squidoo, Meebo, Rojo etc…)

It’s an interesting article, so it got me to thinking about names, in this particular case it’s for a blogging tool so it needs to ‘say’ something.

A couple of ideas…

A couple of names came to mind:

The word ‘Logorrhea’ is defined in Wikipedia as an “excessive flow of words” and, when used medically, refers to incoherent talkativeness that occurs in certain kinds of mental illness, such as mania.

Examples of logorrhoea might include talking or mumbling monotonously either to others or more likely oneself. This may include the repetition of particular words of phrases, often incoherently.

I actually quite liked this one, but it just sounds a bit too much like ‘diarrhoea’ though. Fair enough as I guess logorrhea is a bit like verbal diarrhoea. So, close but not quite appropriate ;)

Captain’s Blog:
Mmm, what more needs to be said?

This last one was promptly discarded as an idea for obvious reasons! The two names I’m considering are simply, Blurb and ‘Blah‘. I like them because they’re short, simple and are obviously related to writing or speaking, which is what blogging is about I guess. They both fall into the Metaphor circle in Firewheel Design’s article.

Anyone got any other ideas?

I’d be pleased to hear anybody else’s thoughts / suggestions of names. I’ll try and come up with some kind of prize for the best suggestion.


Inspired design?

Sorry, poor title for this blog post! I just wanted to put an evangelistic web post up, by evangelistic in this case I’m meaning for both ‘standards based’ web design and also just good quality design.

If you’re involved in running a church website, or a site for any kind of Christian organisation or are involved with any kind of graphic design etc for church etc then you really should check out the next couple of websites.

The Godbit Project

Firstly, the Godbit Project, the mission statement of this site is:

The purpose of this site is to help the Church catch up with the rest of the world in adherence to standards given by the World Wide Web Consortium, the governing body of best-practices on the Internet. The majority of Christian web design agencies are using outmoded methods of coding to create websites that the rest of the world would scoff at. Basically, they are stuck in the 1990?s.

That kind of says it all really, and it’s why I’m posting it here. A bit of a call for Christians to be at the cutting edge of things. Hey, I know we’re all ‘followers’ but sometimes we gotta lead too! ;) Go checkout the site, there’s some interesting stuff, I hope you’ll ‘catch the fire’ of standards based design.

Church Marketing Sucks

This next site is one I found linked from Godbit.com, ‘Church Marketing Sucks.com‘ has a broader overall focus of marketing, their mission statement says:

Our mission is to frustrate, educate and motivate the church to communicate, with uncompromising clarity, the truth of Jesus Christ…

…We love the church, but it needs some help. Typos, cheesy logos, and bad clip art aren’t helping the cause. But snazzy marketing won’t save this ship, either. It’s not about being perfect, but there’s a better way to communicate. It’s authentic, it’s loving, and it knows how to spell.

A lot of food for thought here whether you’re a designer, editor, writer, blogger, publisher, PR dude, whatever. Go check out the site, be challenged, surprised and inspired.

Oh yeah, thanks to those who visited this site recently after visiting Alyn’s blog, glad you could make it!


My wife can no longer be referred to as a ‘MacWidow’…

UrbanDictionary.com defines a MacWidow as:

This is what you call the wife of an Apple Macintosh user. He ends up spending much more time on his Mac than with her!

Well, we recently gave away our PC to some friends so I have been keeping my now slightly ageing powerbook at home. Since then Annie has been getting into using it more and more, once she realised that you could do a lot more in GarageBand than just loop a few sounds together she’s been producing quite a lot of songs with it.

Now, the final evidence that Annie’s no longer a ‘MacWidow’ is that she went to an Apple Seminar called ‘Guitarists and the Mac‘. She came home all excited telling me that she found out:

“How the Mac and Apple?s audio creation software along with some amazing third-party products gives you access to thousands of amplifier emulations and pro-quality effects for rehearsals, studio and stage…”

and also:

“How recent developments in guitar technology turn your favourite axe into a virtual orchestra by giving you access to thousands of sampled sounds, virtual instruments and synthesizers…”

Mmm, if you ask me, she sounds like she’s getting a little bit fanatical about this Mac stuff, next thing she’ll be telling me how “she can’t wait until January for Macworld San Francisco as ThinkSecret says that there will be a new Mac Mini – the first to run on Intel chips – and that it will be part of Apple’s move for the Mac to be the center(sic) of the digital hub in people’s homes…

I guess I shouldn’t have gotten her that iPod shuffle, seems like I’ve started something… ;)


Turning Japanese…

I just read some interesting stuff on an Italian Mobile phone blog:

Japan is the world’s #1 in the mobile business with over 90 million mobile subscribers, of which 78 million are using mobile Internet services and 40 million 3G users, with DoCoMo and KDDI increasing at a rate of 1 million a month each. The 3G has services with speeds up to 2,4 Mbps and next year, the 3,5G services will be live with speeds up to 14 Mbps.

It’s interesting because 02 have just launched their ‘i-mode’ service over here in the UK and it’s something I’ve looked into for a while due to the fact that you can use Flash to build applications for it.

Read the whole article on MobileMonday.it