About Me

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Cornwall, United Kingdom
A married Cornishman who still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. I currently work for a charity and am trying to expand my horizons. [See bottom of page for Blog Archive and Links.]

What am I doing?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Last Day

It's here, that horrible feeling of heading home tomorrow.

It doesn't get better, every year the same plus I hate packing.

We stayed longer this year, as we did in 2000, and that has helped. I can see things in a more philosophical light, it will be bad leaving but I won't be spending all of today moping.

We had a delicious meal last night, at the Boieau Bistro in.Kontokali (pronounced as Kon-tok-ali, rather than Konto-kali).. It was the wedding anniversary of the friends we were staying with and this is where they wanted to go - l'm glad we did.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Perspective

We have been standing on one end of a see-saw, the combined return to UK and work standing at the other. Till this week we were the heavier but, as each day passed, we moved a step closer. Yesterday I could feel the see-saw dip and it has become a downhill slide.

Something occurred yesterday that threw thoughts like this out of the window. Someone I know lives in the path of Hurricane Rita. Even though I have never met him l consider him a friend not an aquaintance. This is an internet thing, having contact, getting to know someone through their activities on the net. It is not a new phenomenon, the same sort of connection has occurred with letter writing - not yet a deceased art.

So, if something is bothering you where you are, whether it is "nothing on the television", having forgotten to get some shopping, being caught in a sudden downpour, walking to work in the rain, spare a thought for my friend James of www.jkontherun.com in Houston.

Here's to you and yours James, stay well and stay safe. (Suddenly this Meditteranean thunderstorm, in Corfu Town, doesn't seem like anything at all.)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Contacting Me

For some reason I felt certain I had posted an image by which you can contact me.

In occasionally looking at my blog I noticed it was not there.

I will fix this when I get home.

In the following replace the word and spaces with a full stop (period if you're American).

cornishpasty dot podcast dot gmail dot com

Yammas

Phil

Sunday, September 18, 2005

New things learned - Using Phone Settings for Bluetooth Modem

One of the entries that I came across was an article by Kris Kumar dated 24 January 2005, I can't for the life of me recall the site it was on and won't guess and get it wrong. It was entitled Your Smartphone as a Bluetooth Modem for Your Laptop. My phone is a Symbian rather than PPC but the tip that he gave to get the computer to use the phone's settings was spot on. In a nutshell it involved setting the dialling number to *99# and not giving a name or password when prompted.

I stayed up late last night setting it up and then blew £10 in GPRS fees using 1MB on GPRS via the phone. I can't tell you how great it felt viewing the websites on the computer screen while connected through my phone. I did turn off graphics, sound and video files to reduce the bandwidth coming through and wished that I had taken up the browser accelerator that Opera offered after the trial ran out. I had used my phone as a modem previously both through infrared and bluetooth but it was to a dialup account at 9.6k, that I have as backup. The difference this time is that I can use the 16MB of GPRS that I pay for each month. There have been a number of occasions when I have needed to grab info I see on the screen and not all programs on the phone will allow cut and paste between them. With the laptop I can grab whatever and dump it to a Word doc or similar. So thank you Kris, (I will locate an email for you when next online and send my thanks directly).

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog - lowjib7.blogspot.com

New things learned - which comes first PDA or Wireless

It stems from a certain amount of gadget envy, not an uncommon for feeling for a geek I guess. I have been eyeing up the HP IPAQ 4700 of late, justifying it because of the wireless option that it gives. I have used the P910i to go online and do keep up with some blog postings and email with it but there are limits. The beauty of a wireless gadget would be that I could surf at much faster speeds without using up my limited GPRS bandwidth. This is good in theory and, if I spent time near to certain cafes and the like in London or the US, would work - as long as I had pots of money.

The first problem in Cornwall would be to locate the site for wireless connections. Near where I work and also closer to my home, public wireless access is available at selected garages, pubs, cyber cafés and other odd places, for a fee.

The next problem is the relatively substantial fee charged. From the last occasion I looked the cost of surfing locally was around £6 ($10) per Hour! Fine as a one off in a location you might be passing through and, say, there were nowhere open with wired access but not on a regular basis. Why is it so much cheaper in the US?

I have been tuning in to Podcasts and blogs about PDAs to find sufficient "evidence" of why I need one now. For those people who do not know the P910i, I have been using it, with just the stylus, to:

take notes in meetings - emailing a copy to myself/others as a backup as I go along, updating my mobile blog (lowjib7.blogspot.com), keeping up to date with some blogs via RSS feeds, emailing during my journey to/from work, reading documents, taking photos/videos to provide people, such as conference attendees, with directions, making phone calls (almost forgot that) and a few other things that escape me for the moment. Basically my P910i is my PDA and, apart from wanting a bluetooth keyboard for it for those rare occasions when I don't want to use the handwriting recognition, I have been perfectly happy. I do not need another PDA at this point. What I do need is to be able to surf when I am in different parts of the cottage. There are times when it's just nice to spend time in the same room as Cathy, she might be reading or watching something g on the TV but it's still time together and we can chat; I'm sure she'd agree that it beats me disappearing down the other room for hours at a stretch. Also there are times when we have a lazy time and don't get up early or when we wake up early but don't want to stir out of bed. I could read but to read most of my blogs or grab the odd podcast, I'd have to go downstairs for a while. Going wireless on my broadband connection would enable me to work from different parts of the house, heck if we get any decent days through the Autumn/Winter I could work in the garden.

The question now is, do I make use of the equipment I now have or have access to or do I go the full-blown wireless modem/router route? I currently have two bluetooth dongles and the chance of a second hand Desktop computer. With these I am thinking I could try out a simple bluetooth network and use the dongles to surf the net with the laptop. Maybe I could run a Linux distro on the desktop and work through that? Decisions, decisions. I am fairly sure that the bluetooth option is the one to try first as it will be the cheapest. It's just a question of whether the two different Bluetooth stacks will cooperate with each other.

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog - lowjib7.blogspot.com

Travels with my files

I have just had a half hour getting onto my friends dialup and downloaded some blogs that I have just started getting into.

I really am going to have to move over to wireless at home. I have had the laptop out here and, while I don't have to feed it coal, it's not the newest of machines but the flexibility given has given me so much more.

The convoluted travels of blog text

I read some items on my phone but, as GPRS is so phenomenally expensive when running a UK sim, I did this by pasting whole pages into a word-processing document and sent them to the phone via bluetooth. (Actually it was more complicated than that. My friend's computer has Microsoft Works, bought with the computer on Corfu, it did not come with the gratis copy of Word that I have found elsewhere. My phone is the (nearly - needs wifi) all singing, all dancing Sony Ericsson P910i; it accepts many things but the word-viewer is fussy. The phone will read and convert to it's own flavour of file from the Word 2000 the laptop runs, so I moved the Works file (to keep the formatting) to my 512Mb memory stick (boy was I glad I bought that before the holiday). From there I found that Word 2000 does not read the Works files, even though Works is older, and for some reason I cannot read these Works files in Word. Back go the files and I dropped them into WordPad and saved them as Word 6.0, then opened them in Word and saved as standard Word files. The final act was to bluetooth them to the phone, wasn't sure where the phone was but it's paired and doesn't need confirmation.

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog - lowjib7.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What I'm emailing

I decided to share the occassional email rather than just sent it to an audience of one or two.

16.46 !!

I'm away for a week and a bit and you're part time!

It's funny, I was wandering around Corfu Town yesterday when I was emailing, quite busy but today we chilled and I didn't email.

It might have been ouzo rather than Sangria but I have been rationing myself. I am sitting waiting for some fish that my friend caught recently.

From where I sit, on the veranda, I can see low cloud creeping over the shoulders of the mountains in the north. A swallow has just crossed infront of me, riding the breeze that is growing ahead of the cloud.

It's still warm at after 7pm and I am in t-shirt and shorts. I love this time of year. (I may change my mind later when the rains set in. Something is weighing those cumulus down.

I can see the start of a village, just below what l call the mountain ridge. What must it be like, coming out of your home and looking up to see this phenomenally large cloud, appearing over the edge and descending towards you - amazing!

I am ea.rnestly studying the lottery draws while out here, I could definately become accustomed to this life.

Yesterday we had a fantastic meal in town with traditional things such as country spicy sausage, stuffed cabbage, cheese pies, etc. (The secret is to order a bunch of starters and no main course).

Sounds like I'm not being missed at work, I hope l'm missed a bit - l'd like to have a job to come back to :-D

The cloud has stopped flowing down the mountain and is sitting there like a huge sheet of cotton wool.

Well, that's enough from here at the chillout palace.

Connecting in Corfu

IA discussion occurred, on the message boards on my friend Nathan's website www.agni.gr, about internet access.

It was suggested that there was no effective broadband connections on the island, ISDN being the fastest. I had taken this to mean anywhere but l now think this was relating to home connections.

Having been in to the capital have found an excellent cybercafe. The cafe is called GCom and has around 30 computers with large screens, the connection "feels" like my 512Mb connection at home. A lot of users might impact but there were 10 others in at 3 - 4pm when I used it. I subscribe to 50+ podcasts and was able to download.5 at a time, while surfing sites such as bloglines, with no major delays.

In addition to the speedy connection, headphone and, for some reason a scanner for each machine, it did not close for siesta. The building is air conditioned and has coffee shop facility with reasonably priced drinks - we had a couple of frapés this time around. (The tip for frapés when you want it as a refreshing drink, in my experience, is to not have it 'me gala' (with milk). I was asked whether I wanted it with milk and foolishly said yes. The frapé was more like a milkshake and not as refreshing as the frapé I had at the Liston.

When not at the cybercafe, I have relied on my phone to keep me in touch with people via email on GPRS. A big problem with using GPRS is that it's a good deal more expensive when using a UK sim card, in my case 10 times more expensive. Even with the expense I find it much better in terms of cost and speed in comparison to dial-up on the mobile. Email headers only take 1k or so and plain text emails aren't too bad to send. I notice that attachments don't make it to my mobile blogger.com account. Strange, but I'll send them when back in UK.

Corfu has so far given me 5 full bars of phone signal, pretty much everywhere along the West coast.

I'll end here, a long post without pictures.

Yamas

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A lesson learned Part 2

What I forgot to say was once the emails had all been removed from the server, through my not telling Portable Thunderbird to leave a copy on the server, the next time l checked my messages by phone it synched and took them all off the phone!

That's why I had to re-email them so I could get them onto the phone and make available if I web-mailed.
Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog - lowjib7.blogspot.com

A lesson learnt

While IT is not my current job I have been a power user, as the term went in the '80s, for quite a few years now.

So it'll be no surprise to you to learn that l have tripped up good and proper.

I decided that it would be really useful if I could take my browser bookmarks and email settings with me on holiday. To do this I obtained a 512Mb memory stick, no probs there. 'I know,' l thought, 'l'll be clever and test it out on my own machine first.'

What l didn't consider is that I have my email left on the server when using Outlook, this was not set up on the Portable Thunderbird! Aaaarggghhh!! All my emails disappeared from my server, so when I came to Corfu and checked online there would be nothing there!

I had the emails in the Thunderbird, so l changed the setting and re-emailed myself, that way I had those with backup travel data available. It helps that I can check emails on this phone, though it'd be relatively expensive, 10 UK pounds per megabyte - my normal deal is 1 UK pound per Mb.

Things could have been a lot worse, I may have needed the information and not realised the problem. I am grateful for the heads up warning.

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

Kafes at the Liston

I had a surprise gadget moment while visiting a haunt of writers in Corfu today.

We made the obligatory and, for us, annual stop at the Liston in Corfu Town, (photo to follow - seems to be a problem posting with photos from here). The waiters take your order on wireless touch screen pads, speeding up service, making great use of a gadget!

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog - lowlojib7.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Corfu - The Arrival

As soon as we touched down and I stepped out, into that evening air that envelops Corfu airport, I knew everything would be well. The healing of all those mental scars, the unwinding of stress coiled muscles, started.

It wasn't so much the smells that told me as I have virtually no sense of smell. It is more like the molecules pass through my skin and attach themselves to my corpuscles.

All in my head? Yes, but isn't everything we know as reality all in our heads, constructs of our minds? This is about how I process things.

Handcrafted on a Sony Ericsson P910i

My mobile blog - lowjib7.blogspot.com