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?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Deja Vue

Well, it happened again. I should have known from the conversation I had with a friend who dropped me at Bristol Temple Meads; he was telling me what the rules are in respect of claiming compensation for a late train. We set off and were travelling well, even getting into Plymouth 6 minutes early. Then it happened. We are an express train with priority along the track, except tonight. A freight train was put on the line ahead of us and this was running late. Because Cornwall has very long lengths of track between signals we had to wait just outside of Saltash for the freight train to reach the next set 20 minutes further down - 10 minutes late. Given that we were 6 minutes ahead this wasn't too bad, up to the point that the breaks seized on the freight train. We were then stuck just outside Par for approximately 50 minutes.

It is now 9.40pm and I should be in Penzance in 10 minutes time but am 1 hour away. We will make up time, enough time that we don't qualify for compensation unfortunately, but Virgin has been fair with us. We have been kept informed of the problem, which wasn't of Virgin's making, and offered free beverages from the buffet car.

As previously, (I don't have the link for that post to hand), I am as content as I could be. Virgin trains allow me to charge my device courtesy of the power supply socket and it's warm. I feel sorry for people stuck on the trains behind us coming from London, they may have had a longer journey and being stuck on one of those leaves laptop carries in difficulties if they want to use technology to entertain themselves. I am geared up for around 20 hours continuous use without needing a mains suppply but not every device is this power efficient. There is one socket per pair of seats and I have a table to myself so could charge at least 2 devices, my phone is charging as I write. I di contemplate recharging some batteries I have with me but can't be bothered fishing in my bag right now.

A big thank you to the cast and writers of Frasier, I have been sitting here giggling to myself, while getting worried looks from one or two people in view of my face, but not what I am laughing at. Time now I think for a celebratory hot chocolate and a chapter or two of Kevin J Anderson's Seven Suns novel 'Of Fire and Night'.

Evening everyone.

Train home

Just spent a very interesting hour or so with a chap travelling back from Birmingham University. We, or rather I, was talking about a whole range of things. I am not one to hold much in the way of conversations on trains these days, prefering to do my own thing (yes, I can be a grumpy curmudgeon).

We started when he saw my Axim and wondered what exactly it was; of course I launched into what one friend calls "the sales pitch", running through the basic history of the device, what it could do, what I use it for - leisure and my work for a national charity, what the next step is UMPC (shoutout to Kevin and Josh), the jump to the tablet computer (shoutout to James) and so on. I did give him chances to ask questions, after all I did draw a few breaths.

We then moved on to the Flashman novel he was reading, I read Flashman and the Redskins only a short while ago. We then moved on to what he was doing - music studies at Birmingham. Again we had interests in common. I mentioned some early music and modern composers whom I liked with an older feel like John Tavener and he knew exactly what I meant. It turns out he plays in a medieval group and plays a form of dulcimer - OK an 18/19th century version but it's about the sound isn't it? I expalined how I held composers in awe, the act of music being something of a mystery to me, (I did once play instruments - cornet and a little tenor horn - but did not have the enthusiasm to carry it through).

Toward the end of our conversation and his stop at Plymouth, home for a few days away from the hustle of what is called Britain's second capital, we came back to modern music. I left him with my all time favourite singer, someone with the most amazing voice (IMHO), Eddi Reader. He said he'd look her up. A second thought occurred to me, one other person I have a huge respect for musically (oh dear, I don't mean I don't respect her in every other way too) is Sissel; I am not certain he knows whom I meant and she has only one album and appeared on a Christmas album with Charles Aznavore and Placido Domingo that I have come across. I can't quite recall but I think I told him she was Norwegian when I meant Icelandic. Just imagine if there were a host of such voices to sing you through all those months of persistent night.

Anyway, I had a blast this evening and it definitely improved my journey home, I have a strong feeling that it would have been the same even if we hadn't covered PCs. He had a perfectly respectable laptop, that he apologised for in light of my Axim and BT keyboard, then I showed him my steam powered laptop - 600Mhz top speed and only just running XP Pro because of a memory upgrade.

We never exchanged names but some of my best conversations have been that way.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Daily Telegraph

I was watching a report on how the <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/index.jhtml'>Telegraph</a> is embracing new technology, with it's blogs, podcasts, video reports, etc. The <a href="http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?scope=all&edition=d&q=telegraph+newspaper&go=Search>BBC reporter followed the Andrew Price, a Telegraph staff reporter, as he covered events and produced up to 5 different pieces for the various media types</a>.

The thing that caught my eye was how he was capturing his notes on a sheet of paper. Surely that has got to lead to more work than necessary. It may be that Mr Price only needs to capture the bare basics and then expands on this directly onto his wordprocessor, but I can't help feeling he's missing something there.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wharburtons bread


Fw: Wharburtons bread
Originally uploaded by Phil(hellene).

We have a new loaf this weekend called Warburtons Seeded Loaf. While not bread in the same league of Marianne's, it is very enjoyable.



The reason I bought the loaf is from it's television advert. Warburtons' adverts these are the very first I have seen that actively promote their accessibilty via the internet, email specifically.



The advert, as seen on UK terrestrial commercial station ITV1, emphasises how approachable the person running family business Jonathon Warburton, was and gives his email address very prominently.



I find it refreshing for a company to actively encourage feedback/input from people in this way and will support them by buying their products, which, going by the seeded loaf, will be no hardship at all.

Mindfulness

This is something I work hard at to not work hard at. It is a state I attain most readily when composing haiku.

I was interested to see the topic come up on 43 folders, I must have missed this post when it first came up
Mindfulness on 43Folders.

It's been a while

For no reason in particular I have been away from here, I haven't even got the excuse that I was busy posting elsewhere. I did have a bit of a tidy up on this refurbished x51v.

Marianne posted up a Love Poem that I enjoyed so much.

It's that eye for something that I would never have seen which lights my candle; I would not have come up with a view like hers, (I'd like to think I would avoid the cliches but who knows?), then again isn't that what poetry is about? Views of the world from through another eye.

On a less cultured subject, I was very disappointed to see an example of prejudice on a game show on ITV1 on a Saturday night. There is a show called Poker Face where contestants answer questions in a series of rounds, they get to know at the end of each round how well they personally have done but not there opponents. At the end of a round they stand together, each with a red button, 10 seconds count down and the first person who pushes the button in that time gets to go home with the money the won at that point; if no one presses their button the one with lowest score has to leave with nothing. Not exactly poker but a person who has done badly can bluff in the after round banter and hope to persuade someone else that they have need to press the button to avoid leaving with nothing.

If you are still with me at this point, last week one of the contestants was a lady who drove trains on the London underground. Almost everyone took turns to run her down during the show, picking on her, claiming that that she would naturally have done badly as she was only a train driver and one person suggesting that she would need the money given she was only a train driver. Now I know needling will come into the equation, the show winner will win £50,000 (approximately $ 100,000) and go into a £ 1,000,000 grand final. It was the way a majority of the needling seemed to be in her direction. In the end she was top for correct answers and the speed in getting them; out bluffed by the person in second position she hit the button and left in second place overall. I know, I know, someone is going to say it's not up to me to fight her battles but I hate to see people picked on. A game maybe but it's not cricket is it?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Smiling fit to burst

Below is the content of an email I fired off to a couple for friends on the Internet ( I have had occasion to email them from work, so their emails are conveniently instantly available in this yucky Web Outlook).
James and Kevin

I had to tell someone who'd appreciate this.

A lady who's been working in the family centre I keep an eye over, and whom I have been giving tablet orientated advice to, has asked me to setup an HP TC1100 tablet for wireless network access. SHE HAS GIVEN IT TO ME TO USE TILL THURSDAY MORNING!!!!!

People have been asking me why I am grinning so much but when I show them the slip case and start getting animated they just can't see why. (Yeh, I am used to that reaction).

Also, the courier has just been with my swap-out x51v. I have loved my other one like it was a part of me but even so, this one looks so gorgeous and shiny.

You wait for an exciting IT experience like reinstalling/setting up a favourite device then along come two at once, just like buses I think the saying goes.

Yippeeee!!!

[I am going to stick this up on the blog too as I am going to be engrossed for the next day and a half].

Hope your day is going as well.

Phil
(currently often mistaken for a Cheshire Cat)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Well, I never expected that

LOL, sometimes things just make me laugh.

I have seen quite a lot of EXIF information from our Nikon P2 and was sure it held orientation details. I saw a 'Please rotate automatically' option in Flickr, chose it and thought no more of it. Unfortunately, the P2 reported the Stream and Tree photo as being taken in normal Horizontal mode.

There you go, a good example of what assuming does.

Still, the html is coming through in the email system OK, by the look of my previous post.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sweep of stream and tree


Sweep of stream and tree
Originally uploaded by Phil(hellene).

I am not sure how to tie the text of this blog entry to the title of the photo. I wanted to include something uplifting and the photo is it. I took it a couple of weeks ago on a great walk around Penrose Woods (a blog that has photos of Penrose Woods).



[The item just after the words Penrose Woods above is an experiment, to see if I can include html in this email via Flickr to have links behind text.]



Bit of a washed out weekend here. I seem to have picked up some sort of bug that has left all of my joints and more aching. Now I am the first to admit that it is not earth shattering but it is bad enough to confine me to base. Cathy is being nurse and providing for my comfort while carrying out various domestics. Apart from not being able to help with the domestics we are missing out on some great walking weather.



Lately it has been getting a touch colder, the evenings and night feeling like opening a freezer door on a hot day. Yesterday and today we have had large periods and patches of blue sky, with just a coldish breeze to contend with. The sunshine encourages one to walk but, we are lucky as, in Cornwall even rough weather encourages an appreciation of the landscape.



I am lucky as, thanks to Cathy, I have had the time to rest and just catch up on some reading and had some thinking time. I also caught up on a few Listen Again programmes, courtesy of BBC Listen Again - look for the link on the page



So, back to the photo. The tree reminds me of a period in my life and the stream, that life carries on; it's worth remembering that change occurs but that doesn't mean the end of everything. Maybe I need to look at things like work and think about Where the stream might take me. [Oh and to not be so pretentious.]

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thank Flickr....if this works...blog posting via Flickr

There is just so much on the Internet, I find it so hard to keep up. I don't want to specialise so I try to make use of other people's roundups of what is going on. Even then I miss things.



I spend so much time in front of a screen, full size at work and the Axim at home, I decided that I need to have some time with old fashioned paper. I am picking up one of those simplified magazines about what's about.



This is the result, if all goes well, of a happy accident as I was having a general surf. I seem to have a hazy memory of seeing this before, it's a mystery why I hadn't done anything about it before.



Quite simply, How To Get The Most Out Of Flickr http://www.flickr.com/get_the_most.gne taught me how to submit a photo to Flickr by email and have the body text posted on my blog. Now I am not certain whether my photo will end up with this huge description attached to it but the flexibility it allows is mighty useful.



Well.....Here goes...Oh, and the picture a snap from Cyprus the pool attached to our friend's place, where Cathy did lengths everyday.

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What happens when an x51v meets a concrete floor

We had a little accident yesterday, my Axim and me.

Fortunately, it was in it's Proporta aluminium extended battery case.

Unfortunately, while the case saved the Axim from cracking, the buttons on the front no longer operate.

Once I got over the initial shock a horrible thought occurred to me; I had accident cover but no idea where my paperwork was. Finding the paperwork would take an age.

I nipped online to check on exactly what I needed and it was then I made a brilliant discovery. I didn't need to find my original documents, I needed simply to open up the back and read a Tag number underneath the battery. I am not used to these things but it struck me as an elegant way to do things.

A phone call of 10 minutes and we had checked a few basic operations prior to the tech support chap agreeing that it would need to be replaced. I asked if I could have the replacement next Tuesday, when I was in one location for the whole day, he said certainly; he asked me to email the address and my availability times so that he could arrange a courier on Monday who would come out on Tuesday. That could have been it but, he said he would phone me on monday to confirm that it had been arranged. As things stand how could it have gone better?

Thank you Dell.

And thank heavens the Axim has a touch screen, that lets me continue to use it till Tuesday.

On a side note, I had decided a week ago that it was high time I got a new screen protector. They arrived this morning and I would love to install one, to get the newly smooth feel on the screen and ink some posts, but that would be a waste.