Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Anyway, I popped to Boots yesterday and bought their own brand "Night Time Cough Syrup for 1-12 Year Olds" which is Pholcodine based and includes a decongestant.
It works REALLY well.
Lauren had a dose around 6 pm and slept soundly until 2.30 am this morning. We gave her a second dose and after about 30 minutes she was out like a light again and we didn't hear a peep out of her.
Now we just need to resist the urge to dose her when she is not unwell! (Kidding)
Friday, October 27, 2006
Think I've sorted the problem; human error rather than LiveWriter fault!
I've enjoyed using it (now that I've figured out how to post pictures and stuff); so thanks for Gareth for the suggestion. It's really easy to use and a lot less frustrating than trying to log into Blogger dashboard.
I'm looking forward to more Tools etc. for it once the full version comes out.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Our little Micra was scraped by some rude person in the Chiswick Sainsbury's car park (see post). This was despite the car being in a Parent and Child space (so having extra room on either side) and the car being within the designated space.
May have been blind as well as rude, then.
Anyway, as is often the case in London, it was a hit and run. The offender didn't even have the honesty to put a note on our windscreen to say sorry. It makes me mad. Another one of those things we have to put up with in this dirty, uncaring city.
(Slightly off topic: this guy falls over on the bus yesterday as I was coming home, as he was trying to get into a seat when the driver accelerated away. He apologised for falling over because he knocked two of us already sat down. I asked him if he was OK; the other person didn't even look up from her book. They guy just looked blankly at me as if he didn't know what to say back. Or maybe it was the laryngitis and he didn't hear me properly...but you get my drift. Kindness is not expected in London.)
Anyway, I phoned the insurance company and they arranged for their garage to pick up the car and to repair the damage. You've probably seen from the photos that whilst unfortunate, the damage is hardly major.
Can you believe that they estimate a completion date of 15th November? I was shocked to say the least. I hope that these dates are subject to revision!
Maybe it's just usual for some mechanics / engineers to wildly overestimate the time so that you'll be impressed when they finish early. Think of Scotty from Star Trek!
Fingers crossed that we'll have the Micra back before then, otherwise I'm going to have to get used to driving the big Mazda estate. Jase usually drives it as I don't really like big cars, but I guess it's about time I got used to it!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
OK here are two Links:
HD Version and Normal Version.
Please don't watch the video all the way through... about 2 seconds will be enough to understand the rest of this post!
Now my experience tells me that the motion of the breasts in this video is NOT NATURAL. Some Japanese programmers need to seriously stop writing / playing games and get out there and observe more real people.
As my hero Absath puts it:
Taking all that into mind I give you today's comic!
Thanks to CAD.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at
3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at
5. Then of course, there's the Italian-Power Generator company
6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South
7. If you're looking for computer software, there's always
8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is
9. Then, of course, there's these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:
10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at
We currently get our 8 Meg broadband from UKOnline, part of the EasyNet group. Our exchange has their hardware so we are classified by BT as an LLU ADSL* user.
Sky bought EasyNet and are now offering Sky Broadband on the same hardware as UKOnline.
We pay £25 per month for our 8 Meg service.... Sky Broadband is £10 for 16 Meg - both are unlimited downloads.
So I phoned up UKOnline to get a MAC code to transfer the service (works the same as Mobile Phones) and they said it can't be done as both companies use the same hardware and BT gets confused!!!!
So I phoned Sky Broadband and they also blamed BT saying this wasn't an issue related just to EasyNet hardware, but anyone using LLU ADSL (as opposed to BT based ADSL).
So instead of taking 2 hours to transfer my Broadband using a MAC code, I have to fully cancel my UKOnline contract and wait 5 days for the line to be cleared down by BT, before then ordering Sky Broadband.
All in all I am guaranteed to be without broadband for 2 weeks minimum and maybe upwards of a month!!!!!
Looking at how we use the internet, we can't do it! Serena needs the internet for the next month for her exams and I use it for work every Friday. So that means it would be Christmas/New Year before we can even think about switching.
Since the Sky package is 12 months minimum and we plan move to Oz around October/November next year, I don't think I can be bothered switching providers given the extra hassle of cancelling early at the end.
I have never even seen anyone state that migrating from LLU ADSL is impossible without cancelling completely. So who is to blaim? Sky/UKOnline would seem to point the finger at BT.
I think I may have to find a high horse and go off crusading on this one as I am thoroughly dissatisfied and can't seem to find anyone to take the flack. Time to email a few computer mags "Help" pages to see if I can get some journalists in my corner!!!!
* LLU = Local Loop Unbundling - shows that you are not using BT ADSL Hardware.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Since I can't post the following in the comments properly it is posted here for Gillian and Gareth!
So I guess I shouldn't buy you this calendar as your Christmas prezzie?
GK - Would you prefer I got him this one or this one?
Or am I fighting a losing battle with this one?
First up lets talk about Brains! Or more specifically the Brain Warehouse, that I spotted in Shepherd's Bush about a month ago. It appeared and vanished within a couple of days so I never got any photos. It turns out that it was a film set for the Government's new series of Cannabis adverts. I wish I could have gotten a couple of photos though as it was a brilliant setup.
Hmmm, next... Da Vinci Code.
Well Serena's delayed birthday prezzie of a couple of DVDs turned up on Saturday, so we watched the Da Vinci Code yesterday afternoon. I have read the book twice and was a bit scepticle about the film. I have to say it is a very good yarn if you take it in its own right, but the book tells the story much better as there is more time to build the plot (the book is a slow burner, as opposed the hectic film). They also Hollywoodised the ending slightly, which was a shame. Definitely worth a watch whether you have read the book or not.
How about Sore Bums?
The plan for lunchtime today is to go to the Tate Modern and play on the new art exhibition - a set of huge slides. Apparently the pieces are a bit roughly welded together and give you a bit of bounce on the way down, so I may be sitting carefully later! Still I am fairly well padded in that region so I should be OK!
The new BBC version is actually quite entertaining. Maybe I was hoping for something more like the 1980's ITV version, with a nice mystical undertone, but nevermind. I think the BBC were expecting too much for it to be on a par with Dr Who, as the writing is not as strong, but there is potential in there if they choose to develop the characters a bit more. Generally it is Robin seeking glory and the Sheriff seeking the Ham of the Year award. Could do better, but worth a watch.
And finally U certificate movies...
I am always amazed how certification standards have changed down the years. Take a classic film like The Guns of Naverone which was on Channel 4 on Saturday - Certificate U. There is a lot of "Stealth Violence" in the film - cuttings of throats and blackjacking etc and the dialogue, whilst free of modern swear words is quite "strong" and "adult" in places. I reckon that it would get at least a PG certificate, if not a 12 if it was reclassified now. I am certain there are other films like this out there - The Black Hole (Scary) is the only one that leaps to mind right now, and maybe Clash of the Titans (very violent).
Friday, October 20, 2006
Unlike Gareth and Rena, I am not a Firefox all the way type of guy... there are bits about it that I love, but there there is something about it, that I can't quite put my finger on, that doesn't quite work in my eyes.
Well Microsoft finally release Internet Explorer 7 yesterday and I installed it last night. It still looks like a Microsoft product, but it has the bits of Firefox that I like thrown in (tabbed browsing etc), and even does them better.
Firefox 2 is due out of beta in a month or so and I have no doubt that it will appear on this PC as well, but for now I am back using IE over Firefox.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
A Pie and a Pint at lunchtime (London Beer is just too bad! I resorted to Guinness.)
Four cards in total (and numerous emails / text messages / blog comments).
A couple of "No Show" DVDs (much to Serena's embarrassment).
Pork Chops for dinner and finally taking the piss out of the idiot girls on Ladette to Lady (recorded from last week).
Clearly my 34th isn't a major milestone, but I still think my 30th was my best of recent years. Having been used to rain, wind and foggy weather on my birthday all my life, spending the day on the beach in Queensland soaking up the UV radiation and dodging jelly fish in the crystal blue waters was a definite plus! Follow that up with an outrageous shirt, cocktails and fine food and the day was complete!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I posted lunchtime yesterday and my post vanished into the ether for 12 hours, only to reappear when I logged in this morning!
Gareth's blog seems to have vanished. I guess he forgot to put 50p in the meter again!
James seems to be training people how to scramble eggs! I see this as a step forward from his perpetual studentship (Kidding mate!), although I didn't realise he knew how to cook!
How to make an egg survive a 2 story drop using just Newspaper, Card, a Carrier Bag full of String and Sticky Tape? I love these types of challenge.
How many of James' students will think outside the box and use the Carrier Bag as a parachute? People often overlook the "container" when presented with a load of items to use in this type of challenge.
We had a competition at school called the "Great Egg Race" (name nicked from a TV Show of the same theme). The idea being you had a bunch of rubbish and a challenge to complete within 2 hours. I always enjoyed it! Hell my team won when I captained it - thanks to James for a History Lesson!!!! (And he was working for a different team.)
Anyway, back to the plot (so to speak).
Another day on the helpdesk for me. I am writing up procedure as I go, which makes the work twice as dull.
When I get a spare 15 mins at home I have been playing the Battlefield 2142 demo. It is good fun (Like BF2), but you must, must, must find a server where people are prepared to play in teams otherwise it turns into a free-for-all nightmare.
Three cards made it on time (although I left before the postman this morning). Maybe being 34 isn't too bad.
Lunch at Smiths today I think!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Serena pretty much covered off our weekend in her blog as well as plans for our Return to Oz.
So what can I ramble on about this week?
Well work is busy. Very busy in fact! Then I suspect that comes from 3 days off sick and the accompanying back-log that people expect you to catch-up on.
This week I am mainly supporting broadband.
So how do you explain to a technophobe that they need to upgrade a USB ADSL modem to am ADSL Modem/Router without using long words???? Most of the time I fob them off and tell them to ring their ISP for all the details of what they need to do. Back in the old days, ISPs refused to support routers, but nowadays you find they will help with almost anything technical. I did send one guy into PC World and he phoned me from the store to say they had laughed at him! I told him to stick two fingers up at them and go to Comet (which was next door). Sometimes I dispair at the level of customer service in this country.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Anyway, Lauren looked a lot better yesterday, whilst I continued to whimper on the sofa like the strapping bloke that I am, so I dragged myself out of my sick bed to take her to nursery this morning.
On the way home I stopped at Sainsbury's to pick up some essentials (milk, paracetamol, extra-soft toilet paper...)
When I cam back out to Serena's car (it has the better of our two car seats in it so I use it for school runs when possible) some bastard had pranged it:
I complained to the store manager and he sent a security guard to review the CCTV footage and then I headed off to the police station.
After much form filling, and a trip home to pick up my insurance details etc, the Police advised me to lean on Sainsbury's over the CCTV footage as they have a history of being "slow to produce" evidence! So back to the store manager I trotted and "leaned" on him.
The annoying bloke refused to let me review the CCTV footage myself and said he would contact me if his security staff had anything to report! I really wanted to witness this act if wanton destruction! I could feel my pants wanting to leap to the outside of my trousers and a cloak flapping in the wind!
Anyway, for a good 45 minutes I completely forgot how ill I am!
I am back home now and am going back to bed!
Monday, October 09, 2006
Minidisk... Waste of money! It was handy for about 6 months and then it was just too much hassle to use it. I suppose it could be used as a Dictophone as it has a microphone socket, but generally made obsolete by MP3.
DVD Recorder. We suffered VCR problems just before Christmas and our Sky+ was out of commission so I bought a DVD Recorder from ASDA. Now I didn't pay a huge amount of money for it and you generally get what you pay for, but ours is just crap! The menus are unfriendly. It is unreliable. It has a habit of corrupting disks that were working fine when you tried them last week and I can't get it to work with anything but rewritable disks (as it corrupts every DVD-R + or - that I have used in it). I can't even be bothered to EBay it! It's one redeeming feature is that it is small and multiregion, so I reckon it will end up in either the bedroom or kitchen as a DVD player.
PDAs. In theory my Dell Axim should be in use every day... But instead it sits on its charger at home and pings at me when someone's birthday gets close. It is too bulky to be used for the purpose I need it for... (address book / diary / plus other bits a bobs). I could even use it as a mobile media player (MP3 and MPG) but the in build audio device is shockingly bad that it just isn't worth it, and the battery life means that 30 minutes of video is your limit! I think I may invest in a decent smart phone, once whatever new job takes off, as it makes sense to me to have diary and address book linked to your phone. I'll let Gareth bamboozle me with smart phone science as that is one of his pet topics!!!! I'll also leave the mobile media player to a decent Laptop and MP3 player as they do the job so well!
What else... Hmmm... How about the switch over to Digital TV?
I think this is both needed and being handled disastrously.
The key points that no-one in power seems to have picked up are as follows:
1/ The majority of people in the UK will need an new aerial to get Digital TV, unless they seriously boost the signal. I am in a really good reception area and I still can't get freeview through our roof aerial. Your average granny is going to get ripped off if they don't get proper assistance!
2/ Going back to your average person on the street who never bothered with Sky/Cable TV (and I am thinking of my Mum here)... The concept of keeping your TV on one channel whilst you change channels on the Digibox will be new (even though they could have been doing that on their VCRs for years - but they just didn't). The fact that they won't be able to easily watch one programme and record another is also a factor and will be complicated even further if they need to either (a) leave the digibox on the correct channel whilst they are out or (b) remember to program the digibox to change channel! Don't even go there about trying to record Eastenders and Coronation street whilst they are away for 2 weeks! (With most digibox guides only being 7 days and not having a "series link" option.)
I really want to get my parents onto Digital TV, but I am lost at the best way of implementing this! (Don't even mention the old TV in the study that doesn't even have Scart sockets!) If I could get them on Sky I would but they aren't allow a dish on their house! Maybe in the loft?
Sigh... Rant over!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Anyway Serena got an invite almost straight away and I shrugged my shoulders and was all manly with my "I didn't really expect to get an invite anyway"!
Well my invite came this morning and my Ego is feeling a lot better about itself!
It does throw up one small problem... The invite clearly states "No Hangers On" and "No Bags". I have had to email the High Commission to get permission for us to bring Lauren, her pushchair and her bag of goodies (Nappies, Milk etc). Once I hear back from them (they have a 24 Hour response SLA) then I will book my timeslot, either to coincide with Serena or to go before her (so she can look after Lauren and then we swap).
It also means I need to sort out my CV slightly sooner than I was intending, but Hey, my Ego is well pleased!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Take for example this weekend's trip to Asda.
The place is like a bombsite at the moment as they are changing the layout and Sunday mornings seem to be a popular time for families to hit our local Asda superstore. I was popping over to buy some milk, bananas and nappies (the essentials)! The first incident was in the nappy aisle. Pampers were on a 2 packs for £16 offer and the area was a bit of a jumble. Seeing the offer I picked up the last 4 packs of Size 4's and dumped them in my trolley. Moments later a family started rooting through the size 3's and 5's looking for more size 4's (I was looking at juice bottles for Lauren) and the women came out with a colourful expression that meant "Oh dear they haven't got any #4's left!" The father then looked in my trolley at my 4 packs of #4's and I swear for a second I thought he was going to take them. He was a rather large bloke and if he had tried, there would have been little I could have done to stop him beyond shout and duck! I am sure he wouldn't, but I've been in London too long and the paranoia is starting to seep in.
Incident number two was at the checkout. The queues were long and I was standing in line with everyone else. Behind me I heard a manager tell and assistant to "Open Aisle 13", so I followed her down there. As I had a trolley to navigate with she got there well ahead of me and just as I joined the queue of one person, a lady from Aisle 14 rammed into the side of my trolley saying "You weren't thinking of pushing in front of me were you?". I bit my tongue! In the end I said "You seemed to be in the other queue, but I am a gentleman so feel free to go first." I added a nice edge of sarcasm which was lost on this lady (I forgot to say she was American)! She just replied "Why thank you!", which was as blatant an admission of guilt that I have ever heard (and she wasn't being sarcastic)!
The final London incident happened this morning at the bus stop. I am a bit knackered as Lauren has a nasty cough that kept us all awake, so I was pretty much on autopilot. A 266 pulled in (not my bus) so I stood back and watched a few people get off. The first person off deliberately kicked a loose can of Coke onto the road from the bus. After the hurly-burly cleared I notice the can was full and sealed and lodged under the bus's wheel. I took three steps back and watched with morbid fascination as the bus pulled away, the can exploded and soaked a poor woman's pink skirt in Coke. I don't know why I said nothing in warning... that isn't like me. I normally warn people about wet seats on the tube etc... Maybe I am just tired, or maybe it is the London "look after number one" attitude sinking into my bones.
All of the above is reinforcing Serena's and my opinion that we NEED to get out of this city. I can't see us staying here for more than a couple of years. If things don't work out for Serena we may head north of far south much, much sooner.
Hmmm... Maybe I am depressed? A cup of tea is needed!