Friday, December 29, 2006

Soul » Devil

OK, so I've slated MySpace countless times in the past, because it is pretty ugly, clunky, buggy and so on. Blah blah...

But: There's no denying that it's pretty good for promoting music, and there's the small matter of it having rather a lot of members. So I've created a profile page on which to air my bleepy computer music. And it's here:

myspace.com/firstpersonmusic

And no, I've not 'Pimped' my page, sorry.


My Last FM profile will remain for the more sophisticated web users.

Stay Forever

Stay Forever is the B side of Another Visitor.

Listen or download at Last FM.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Another Visitor

Another Visitor - cover art

OK, after way too many years of not getting round to this, I've finally sat down and put a finished track together.

A bit of deep melodic electro, this is one of two tracks off the 'Another Visitor EP'. The other one's not actually finished yet but I'll add it to this release when it's ready.

Listen here on Last FM.

And as it's Christmas, the MP3 is available as a FREE download on the Last FM page. Season's Greetings!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

That Slade Song

Now I'm all up for a bit of Christmas cheer but would the Advertising Standards Agency please outlaw the use of 'Merry Xmas Everybody' by Slade. It's plain irritating. It's 2006, 33 years since its release (I didn't know that, I checked on Wikipedia obviously). Enough is enough.

And ASDA, as a protest against your use of a choral version of it in your current TV ad, I've decided to boycott your stores for one year.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last work day of the year

Out very late last night. Work today. Well, half a day anyway: a very long team lunch then out early this afternoon for pub-related activities. Such is Christmas.

I'm off back to Stockport for two weeks in the morning. And I've not packed my stuff yet. Better get on with it really.

Listening to
Source Direct – A made up sound – Classic 1996 drum and bass.

Random link
Ben Hammersley – Talented photographer.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Did Sony fire its creative director?



I know this isn't particularly exclusive but – with all the PS3 hype going on – is it just me who thinks the Playstation 3 is rather ugly? And what were they thinking using that typeface? It's the one from the Spiderman logo! How incredibly cheap of them to have not created their own logo face.

Like most of their products, the PS2 and PSP were so on the money, but in my opinion this is awful. George Foreman Grill anyone?

In stock?



I found this while hunting for last minute Christmas present ideas. Someone bought me an acre of The Moon a few years ago. I somehow doubt these things will ever be honoured, though I guess it's cheaper than going there and laying claim to it yourself.

Winter is here


According to my computer anyway.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

2006: my year in pictures



Well believe it or not it's nearly Christmas. I've taken a lot of photos this year. I suppose that's what happens when you're into photography.

I've put together a 'best of' set from the year, primarily to make into a book (via the fantastic QOOP service), but for those of you who aren't the lucky family member who's getting the book for Christmas you can view them online from this blog post.

There's some commercial work, some holiday shots, some people, some places. There are 106 shots in total.

View it as large slideshow (recommended). You'll want a decent broadband connection for this. 106 photos at 6 seconds each takes just over 10 minutes. Unfortunately there are no controls, and it loops round again at the end but it's still the best full page slideshow tool I've found.

Alternatively, browse the set manually on Flickr.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ten years of Flash

Love it or hate it, Flash – the flawed and oft badly (and inappropriately) used interactive web content and vector animation software – is ten years old. Despite my reservations it does have many great uses too: interactive web presentation, video, gaming, and dare I say it advertising. YouTube would never have got where they are without Flash and, hey, we all love YouTube don't we?

Here's what the Beeb had to say about it.

I've been working with Flash since 1999, know it pretty much inside out, and it still does my head in on a regular basis.

Dear Adobe, how do you feel about fixing one or two of the major Flash authoring tool bugs as a kind of birthday celebration? Like that network saving bug where the document gets corrupted and won't save - you know the one.

Hey, you could even release a free patch instead of charging for an 'upgrade'. That would be nice.


Yeah?

Well happy birthday anyway.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Flickr / Yahoo have sorted out the 'map issue'

Back in August, upon its launch, I reviewed Flickr's Geotagging feature. I gave it a bit of a slating because, well, it was pretty crap. Read the article if you're wondering why I had a problem with it.

Anyway, I'm not sure when it happened but they seemed to have sorted it out. So it's now quite good. Here's my photo map so far. It's going to take a while to tag all my photos because I have over 3000 of them on Flickr. Maybe I'll just do the interesting ones.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

break in the clouds


I took this on the approach into Heathrow yesterday (on the way back from Stockholm).

It's a bit of a shame about the low quality. The plane window had a distorting perspex layer. Also, the shutter speed was too low because I hurriedly unpacked the camera to take this when we emerged from the clouds and didn't have time to switch ISO.

But excuses, excuses...

I'm off to Barcelona tomorrow morning to visit my bro - a bit of a week of travelling.

NHS Efficiency

Rant Time.

Because I've not been to see a doctor for a few years I've been struck off my previous GP's records. Great, thanks.

And because I'm trying to buy a flat (a process that apparently needs to be extravagantly complicated at every conceivable stage, and to be handled by a number of parties, each consisting solely of unreliable, inefficient ambassadors of ineptitude) I need a medical note for the compulsory life cover on my mortgage.

OK, should be no problem.

So I called the NHS surgery nearest to where I'm moving and they said, "Sure, just come down and fill in a form". So I bussed and walked my way over there, to be told on arrival that the person on the phone (I'm sure it was the same woman) had misinformed me because I need to have already moved to the area before I can register.

Great. Thanks for wasting my time.

But that's not all. According to the receptionist, it would take about two months for them to get my medical records, and that they can't write the medical note I need until they have those records. She said: "They'll be in a vault somewhere".

Two months? A Vault? What? Why?

I guess the two months is owing to this vault being on the wrong side of a series of Indiana-Jones-esque traps, in a labyrinth only accessible by cave diving into the heart of an inactive (or active?) volcano somewhere beneath Antactica. Oh, and Indy's on leave.


Dear Patricia Hewitt, Health Minister,

Please could you explain how it's possible for both of the following statements to be true at the same time:

a) It takes two months to get my medical records.
b) You still have a job.

Regards,
Ade

P.S. Oh, I hear the NHS IT upgrade is having a few problems. It's only a computer database for god's sake. How hard can it be?



Some days I do wish Sturgeon's Law didn't have to apply to people too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bond

Being a gentleman of leisure this week, I've been doing things which aren't: working, drinking or sleeping. It seems like a long time since I've had time for anything else. (OK, apart from eating – obviously I do that too.)

So yeah, and it's really bloody enjoyable. I've not experienced so much as a hint of boredom yet – there's so much to go and do – so I doubt I'll be watching any daytime TV. After all, it is crap. I have just been to the cinema though, something I don't do often enough.

I went to see Casino Royale. It really is a fantastic and decades-overdue return to form for the 007 series. Just when all seemed lost - “How is the franchise going to reinvent itself?” - the answer was: by making exactly this film.

If you like Bond movies, and especially if you've ever wished Bond was more like the character in the Flemming novels, go and see it.

My good friend The Eyechild has written a proper review here, if you want to read something more infomative.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Two Weeks Off

Way out

I've got two weeks off work. My job is great, but words cannot describe how good this feels. A well overdue break. I've almost forgotten what it's like to not be working.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

downtime



No worries, Opodo. I'll just get exactly the same tickets from your direct rival Expedia. It's fine.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lime Cat - WTF?

Can anyone explain to me what this is all about?

Am I late to some vast meme?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lazy Blogging

Apologies for the lazy blogging. Sometimes I have nothing interesting to write about, or - actually - there are things I want to write about, but I don't have the time or effort to sit down and write about them in a structured and balanced manner.

Hence, like many blogs, this has started to become more of a YouTube repository. It's quicker and easier than writing, and - hey - we all like watching videos don't we?

Well anyway, I'm sure you don't really give a shit about this, but I'll try to write something soon nonetheless.

Discovering Electronic Music



An educational film from 1983.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Amateur



Nice drum programming and editing skills!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

civilised?



08:10   I arrive on the northbound platform at Clapham Common tube station.

08:45   I finally cram myself onto a train. The door only just manages to slide shut because my shoulder is in the way.

09:05   I arrive at work.

That was yesterday morning. Trains normally come in every one to two minutes. Yesterday they were only coming in every three to four minutes, the result being that they were all completely rammed. In a couple of instances I even saw somebody step out to let someone off, and them being unable to get back on.

It's plain that this particular section of the tube (at least) is so absolutely at capacity during rush hour, so any delay completely cripples the system. And unfortunately such delays occur at least once a week.

I'm pretty sure it would be illegal to transport animals packed even nearly that tightly. I guess the fact that we "choose" to get on the train makes it OK. They have our consent.

Fortunately for me I'm (hopefully, sigh) getting out of there pretty soon. On to the greener pastures of Camberwell. There's no tube station there, and I'm glad. It's a horrible way to travel when it's busy.

Image taken from my video Rat Race, made on a much less busy day

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

BPS Slideshow

_MG_0832

I've added a few more photos to the Battersea Power Station set, and put them in a nice slideshow for your convenient viewing. The interior was in a beautiful state of disrepair.

For comparison, a quick Google search brings up a few photos taken inside the power station back when it was operational.

Digg this »

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Battersea Power Station



Battersea Power Station is currently open to the public for a Chinese art exhibition. Apparently it's never been open to visitors in this way before. I went with a few friends on Sunday to check it out.

The art (mostly video art) was cool but, as you might have guessed, I was more interested in the venue. Soon the builders are moving in to convert it into a trendy riverside apartment complex, so this was a unique opportunity to have a look inside the famous crumbling structure.

Oh, yes, and to take some photos. View them on Flickr »

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reflections


From an email conversation at work:

“Everything is cyclic. Today we love them, tomorrow we hate them, in two years time they’ll be back as retro. I am a cynic. Today it’s funny, tomorrow it’ll be a tired attitude, and next year everyone will say ‘shit, he was right all along’. Then they’ll throw me to the wolves and the Design Week will shred me for breakfast, before setting up my comeback and saying they discovered me. I am a Ade’s burnt out drop shadow. I will return.”

“Dangerous” Dave McNulty.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Firefox 2

Forget Internet Explorer 7, I've had it for a while. It's nothing special.

Get Firefox 2, whether you're running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. It was announced earlier but just got officially launched.


*Edit* Digg it here
And, a quote from that page, affirming my opinions on IE7:

“Today I installed both IE7 and FF2. IE7 required about 25 mins of my time and two system restarts, while FF2 took <30 seconds and required 0 restarts.”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Spammers, I hate you

I've not been able to use email addresses at my own domain name ajrdesign.net for over 18 months now due to spam. I get about 60 spam emails a day to my old address there. So I switched to a Gmail address, pretty much as soon as it came out. I now receive spam to that account too but Gmail is usually very good at filtering it all out.

On my website is a feedback form so people can contact me without me having to reveal my email address. It's worked well until last week when I started to get spam messages coming in via the form. More every day. This morning I received five spam messages from the form in as many minutes:



So now I've had to disable the form too, and until I can install a 'human verification' system (probably using my dusty but still present PHP knowledge and probably a small SWF file) it will remain that way.

But why should we have to adapt to avoid this crap? It's the digital equivalent to being forced to nail your letterbox shut and put bars on your windows. I have two words for spammers, and they begin with the letters F and O. In that order. I hate you. All of you. You should be in prison. In the communal shower. Bending to pick up the soap.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Amen

All about the break. The world's most sampled drum loop.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday Links

A couple of adverts:

Sony Bravia advert #2. Not that impressed to be honest, though the first one (with the bouncy balls) was a hard act to follow. Certain shots look like CG to me, which sort of spoils it (even if they were actually real).

And this is a video promo by some colleagues of mine here at Dare. It's for Vodafone's new TV show The Big Idea and was made using 10,000 £1 coins. Less expensive than Sony's ad (of course) though I believe it was very stressful. For the obvious reasons.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tuesday Links

Google stuff for Mac users. Yes, it's that G word again.

Google Mac Blog

Google Software for Mac OS X

Monday, October 09, 2006

footbridge

footbridge

The best photograph I've produced for a while. It's of the footbridge at Poplar DLR station, London.

Looks good LARGE | Google Maps view

I post the photos I'm most happy with on my photo blog fairly regularly.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Link

Some light bedtime reading: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Someone's put the whole thing online. I'm not sure how legitimate that is, but there you go.

Actually I think I'd rather read the real book.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Solicitors

I'm in the process of buying a flat in Camberwell. I have been since the 19th of August, when my offer was accepted, in fact. This is the most tedious process I've ever witnessed. Contracts still haven't been exchanged. And once they have been (if they ever are) I'm told it could take a further six weeks.

There is no chain at either end of the transaction. It should be really simple. I'm essentially paying my solicitors a huge sum of money in return for a stressful, frustrating, ill-informed state of limbo. They're very good at the:

"We'll find out and call you back* in ten minutes?"
[* this is actually a lie]


...trick, for example.

I can only assume that my documents are lying near the bottom of someone's priority pile, wrapped in red tape.

So, another six weeks of phoning them every day to go then maybe - just maybe - I'll be living back in good old SE5 again. Fingers crossed.


September 29th - update


The lady selling the flat to me has apparently fired her solicitor for not being proactive enough. So, it's not just me feeling the frustration then.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Links

nostalgia

Today it's all about the Commodore 64, the coolest computer ever (hush now, Spectrum heads). And more specifically the music it made. Three voices - now THAT was a revolution.

Stuck in the past you say? Me? Well there are some who go to far greater lengths in their quest for nostalgia:

C64 Orchestra rehearsal, featuring Rob Hubbard, composer of The Last Ninja theme tune.

C64 Orchestra on MySpace - Check out their rendition of Monty On The Run. Not bad. Not sure about that "Weeeee" in the middle though.

And if you're really into C64 Music you could always subscribe to the C64 Takeaway Podcast, though maybe that's going a bit far. It is presented by an amusing sounding Danish chap though.

Actually, I'd be careful about that last one. People might think you're a complete nerd or something. Instead, visit My C64 games page, blog it yourself and send it to ALL your contacts so my Google Ad Impressions go up and I make some money.

Cheers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Saturday Links - Video

Do it yourself - Slightly twisted short film / video.

Neave.tv - Watch videos through an experimental browser-based full window TV-style interface

Democracy - Free Internet TV Platform. All sorts of channels, from music videos to documentaries.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday Link

Needs To Be Glassed – In its own words: "Everyone featured on this site requires a fucken glassin". I don't think they're really condoning violence, it's just something silly to read if you have a moment's downtime during the day. Or even if you don't, in my case.

Not brilliant or even consistently good, but it makes me laugh in places, and I mostly agree with their choice of glassees. I feel I should point out, for the record, that I've never glassed (or bottled for that matter) anyone in my life.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday Links

Inspired by Peter Gasston I've decided to start posting links to interesting things that I find on the web. I hope you'll find them interesting too. It's cheap blogging for me, anyway.


Links for Wednesday

An Abandoned City"Here is a little photo-session of an abandoned city. When the Soviet Union collapsed, government didn't have much funds to...". I'd love to take my camera there on holiday.
del.icio.us: photography

Hello Kitty Exhaust Pipe – Not on my car, thanks, but maybe it's your sort of thing. I wonder whether it's connected to this car ?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Red Bull non-Air Race


A friend and I set off early on Saturday to go and watch the British leg of the Red Bull Air Race World Series at Longleat. Unfortunately:

i) Due to the amount of traffic going to the event the journey took seven hours. It would normally take under three hours from where we set off in East London but the congestion was so bad that the final 20 miles from near Stonehenge took four hours.

ii) About an hour after we got there the organisers confirmed that the event was being cancelled due to strong gusty winds.

...all of which was "somewhat disappointing."

Here are some more photos of the Air Race not taking place:

Longleat

control tower, in the rain

stick in the mud

Illustrator



Adobe Illustrator gave me this interesting error message earlier. I thought I'd share it with you.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mosquitos. Still. Grrr.

I still regularly get woken during the night by the high pitched whine of mosquitos buzzing round my head. And my face and arms are dotted with mosquito bites at various stages of healing. This has been going on since July.

It's very annoying.

It also strikes me as a bit weird as this isn't Morocco, it's England. In the autumn.

Well, I suppose writing about it isn't really going to help*. It's time to hunt this one down then get back to sleep for another hour before I have to get up for work.


*Unless you have any tips

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Photosharing Rant, Episode III

And to complete my Photo Sharing trilogy...

I got round to it sooner than I thought I would. Mostly because it only took five minutes to set up. Here's a demo of a (Google) Picasaweb photo album. Check out the slideshow. I must say the LARGE slideshow is something that's really been missing from Flickr. I like to look at photos nice and big.

Checking out Picasaweb
Aug 29, 2006 - 4 Photos

Geotagging on Zooomr

Brixton from the 35
If you click the image above it'll take you to its page on Zooomr.com, a relative newcomer and alternative photo sharing website to Flickr. I created my account a while ago but haven't used it much, largely because I already have lots of contacts on Flickr and don't want the hassle of using two sites. Flickr got there first you might say.

Now there's lots of things about Flickr that are still better than Zooomr: it's more refined, it's easier on the eye, it has great features like the Organizr and a great user-expandable groups system. But, Zooomr has some stuff that Flickr does not. And in my frustration at the geotagging functionality added to Flickr yesterday I thought I'd give Zooomr another go.

And its Geotagging facility is much better. I'd say this is largely down to the fact that it's based on Google Maps which is far superior to Yahoo Maps, but there are other differences too.

Apart from a few problems I had searching for locations on Zooomr, ("London, UK" didn't work for example, but I navigated to it easily using the GMaps controls) geotagging works great. OK, I can't drag and drop like on Flickr but I can select an image and just click the spot where I want it to go and that's just as easy. Check out Zooomr's tagmap here.

Here's Flickr's map of London for comparison. Now try to zoom in on that. Drag and drop or no drag and drop, it's pretty useless right now. Hopefully they'll improve it soon and prove me wrong!

So, the previously infallible Flickr has some competition. And competition is ultimately good for the customer. I had wondered whether Google would buy out and pour money into Zooomr but they recently launched a test version of Picasaweb which is an online sharing extension to their long-running Picasa desktop image management software.

So much to choose from! All jolly clever stuff anyway...


Oh, one more thing:

Check out the Zooomr's 'Portal' feature I've used on this image. It's great to see this sort of innovation.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel (2)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Flickr has added a mapping tool

Flickr has added a map tool for geotagging photos.

Now this functionality was previously already available to early adopter tech-savvy types who used Firefox with the GreaseMonkey plugin, which allowed an 'add geotags' link to be added to each Flickr photo page. This in turn got the location from Google Maps and that returned longitude and latitude data as tags on the image. These tags could then be used to collect images from a certain location or region, even outside of Flickr owing to its API.

This system worked, and still works, perfectly well in fact.

But... If all of that tech stuff goes over your head you're probbly thinking 'it sounds like a bit of a hassle'. And for some it is.

So Flickr have added their own system. And it works like this:

1. Drag your photo or batch of photos onto a map in the Organizr



2. View the map location from the photo page.




"Great", I immediately thought. But hang on a minute. There's one obvious shortfall: the map.

They're using Yahoo's mapping tool, of course. Flickr's photo elements work really nicely as usual, but the navigation on the map itself is clumsy and slow. And maybe it's all shiny and high-res for those of you in the USA, but the map data for London (you know that 'not so inconspicuous little town in the South East of England' ?) is terrible. Most of the roads aren't named, most smaller roads are missing and if I zoom into anywhere at the highest three zoom levels I just get grey. This is the closest I can get to London:



So, it fails completely because I have no idea where I'm pinning my photo!

In short, I'm afraid to say I think it's crap.


Also, it doesn't add geoTAGS to the photos. The location data is embedded. Now, arguably, tags weren't meant for positional data and some say they were undermining the tagging system, but so what? Wasn't it an inventive way to use them thought up by the users?

Well, apparently there's a way to convert them to the new system should you wish to. And Flickr's Stewart Butterfield laid to rest my fears that the existing geotagging system would cease to function in this thread.

Still, the bottom line is that I won't be using Flickr's map tool until it works properly. Maybe I'm spoilt by Google Maps but that means having a fast and easily navigable map with every road on it.

Until then, well, I know they're taking over the world but at times like these I wish it was Google that had bought Flickr and not Yahoo.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Day Twenty Eight



Day twenty eight of my alcohol-free month, that is. The end of the experiment is approaching and I'm happy to report that it has gone well. On the whole it's not been a problem at all, in fact I've quite enjoyed the change (not to mention the absence of hangovers). I wouldn't like to quit drinking altogether though - once every few days it's nice to go for a few drinks with friends. This month I've nearly OD'd on pints of lemonade and lime a couple of times.

So what have I been doing instead? Well, as you might have noticed I've been busy pimping out a new version of my game Flashteroids. I spent so much time on it when I originally made it (in 2002) that I thought it would be nice to make a bit of cash out of it. And it's had its moments of popularity. Back in 2004 there was a week during which it had around 3000 players per day. It's popular with the kids.

So the new version is basically the same old game but with a few improvements. And the key addition of some Google advertising on the website. Sold my soul to the devil you say? Oh well.

Also - and I hope I don't jinx it by shouting about it on the web - I'm 99% of the way towards having purchased my first property, a studio flat in Camberwell. 99% because it's not signed and sealed yet. It's in the hands of solicitors, doing whatever it is they do in return for monolithic stacks of money. Here are some photos of the flat.

So, quite a productive month. I'm looking forward to that cold beer at the end of it. Now, what to do with the bank holiday weekend?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Flashteroids embed demo

This post is just for demonstration purposes. It shows how Flashteroids can be embedded into any webpage or blog.

If you're interested in putting Flashteroids on your site, you can set it up here. It only takes a couple of minutes.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Flashteroids 1.5+


After many a night of grappling with arcaic Flash 5 code I've finally got the intermediate update to Flashteroids finished. That means it's the same old 2002 game (started in 2001, hence the Flash 5 code), but with 11 completely new levels, lots of new features and a bit of a facelift.

Check it out here or alternatively watch the obligatory YouTube video:


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ubuntu



The copy of Windows XP on the tired old PC in my kitchen has been complaining of late that it's a pirate copy and that "I may be a victim of software piracy." Yeah, spot on... (well, sort of.)

It's funny though that only now- when they're (supposedly) close to releasing Vista - they've started asking people to pay up for XP. I 'built' this computer about four years ago! The odds of me being willing to pay (directly at least) for a copy of Windows XP are pretty slim. Similar to the odds of selling me, say, a 10 year old Ford Fiesta for £3000. Yeah, it was alright in its day, but now it looks to me like Microsoft are getting left in the dust. Maybe they'll pull it out of the bag with Vista, but they're taking their bloody time!

Anyway, all these piracy warnings were doing my head in so I thought "OK, screw you then", and stuck a copy of Ubuntu on there instead.

Now for those of you who don't know, Ubuntu is a computer operating system (i.e. like Windows) based on GNU/Linux (i.e. not like Windows). It's also free and open source.

I thought about setting up a Linux machine a few years ago, mainly for the learning experience and a bit of a project, but it all seemed to involve just slightly too much effort - doing things like compiling it yourself and stuff.

This on the other hand was really easy. I just downloaded a CD image, burnt it to disk, popped it in the drive and clicked a button. It even runs a demo version off the CD without changing anything so you can see if you like it. No techie questions asked, no settings to set, just two or three steps and it's done in about 20 minutes.

Anyway, this may be a bad reputation move. I'm forever trying to shake off the 'techie guy' image. I do creative work for a living and 'creating stuff' is what I enjoy most, but I can't help it - curiousity gets the better of me. Must... play... with... gadgets...

So... hmmm... I now run two Macs, one Windows PC and one Linux box. OK, maybe I'm a bit of a geek then. But please stop saying I 'work in IT'. Innaccurate. And no I can't come round fix your network, I've forgotten how. Honest :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Day Eight

It's the eighth day of my alcohol-free month. So far so good.

After work on Thursday I went to the pub and sat there quite happily drinking lime and lemonade while my workmates steadily got drunk. There is limit to how many soft drinks one can manage though – when I left I felt a little bit radioactive from all the sugar. I suppose there's always diet coke, but that comes packed with caffeine instead. I might have to do some research... Oh yeah, water.

Despite it being OK, I've not been back to a drinking establishment since. And this weekend I've felt a strange feeling that I've actually opted for a month of isolation. It seems – from ‘the outside’ – that the sole mission of the masses is to get pissed between Friday night and Sunday night, and if you’re not taking part then: “Sorry pal, you're on your own.”

Of course this isn't really the case, entirely. I could have gone to meet some friends on the common (but I knew they'd probably have been drinking all day) and I could have gone out to my mate's night at 93 Feet East last night (but the thought of a [very] crowded bar on a Saturday night without a few beers really didn't appeal). I just chose not to.

On the flipside I did do some useful flat-hunting research yesterday. I checked out some previously unexplored (by me, I mean) parts of Camberwell and now have a better idea of where I do and don't want to live. I also checked out a few properties, one of which looks promising.

Right, I'm off to have another highly productive day. Don't get too drunk, you lot.

I can't work out whether to be smug or jealous.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Blair Witch Project

I've not seen it before. It's on TV. I've just turned it off half way through because it appears to be a bit: rubbish.

It's so blatantly not all shot in sequence with one camera. The sound continues on when the video cuts to a different angle all the way through, for a start. Yes, this can be done in the edit suite but not when there's two angles on a live conversation shot with one camera.

And am I supposed to be scared when they find a pile of rocks and some twigs tied together?

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Curse of the Letter A


Because:

a. My name begins with A and I'm therefore at the top of most my friends' mobile phone contacts lists.

and

b. A considerable amount of people apparently don't have the technical know-how to activate their phones' key locks (most have automatic key-locks for god's sake).

I often receive a large number of empty messages from one person over the space of 20 minutes or so. It also happens with calls. I receive lots of four minute long (the maximum) voicemails of the sound of someone sitting on their phone on a bus or wherever. I get this pretty much every day.

IT'S VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY ANNOYING.

Please, if you can't manage to not do this, then add a blank contact at the top of your contact list. Or take me out altogether and revert to using a pen and paper.

Maybe I should change my name to "Zade".

</ venting anger>

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wasting My Time

I've been working on an interactive ad since last Tuesday, including ALL weekend, 2am finishes on both Sunday and Monday nights, lots of changing it around significantly, changing it back how it was, last minute stress and such...

And we've just heard that the client is nervous about running it and wants to go with a more conservative ad instead.

Sometimes I hate my job.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sober till September

Inspired by the decision of one of my friends to give up booze, I've decided to go without for the duration of August. It's a kind of experiment - testing the water, if you like. My main reasons are:

  • I think I'll save a fortune

  • I think I'll lose weight

  • I think I'll feel healthier

  • I think I'll be more efficient at work

  • I'm more likely to significantly chip away at my massive 'to-do' list (which includes buying a flat)


Of course, like many such abstentions, the idea occurred to me in the depths of a hangover - the one that arrived two mornings after this night out with mywork mates, in fact. Day One, however, was Sunday because I had a glass of wine and two pints on Saturday night.

I don't have what most Europeans would call a drinking problem, though I do probably consume over the average for a London-living, works-in-the-media-type. So still some.

Obvious hurdles will be: company meetings (there's always a crate of cold Beck's), company nights out (two celebratory dinners lined up), and seeing friends at the weekend (we always go to the pub).

But zero alcohol is the plan. I don't think it will be difficult. I hope not anyway. As I said to someone today, the worst possible outcome would be for me to secretly fail and pretend that I still did it. So if I crumble under peer pressure I'll be sure to let you know about it.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Elegant Universe



If, like me, you find space, time, the universe and “all that stuff” fascinating you'll probably enjoy The Elegant Universe, a video documentary about unification of the theories of physics.

It's three hours long and I've only watched one half of the first episode so far, but it's already clearly illustrated the key difference between Einstein's theory of General Relativity and Newton's law of gravity, using excellent 3D animations.

I quit doing maths after my electronics engineering degree in favour of making things that look nice instead, but it does still hold a deep fascination for me. I want to know how things work. So I'm glad there are still people out there keen to do all the sums. Worth a watch!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

who told them about the weather?


Originally uploaded by petrichor.

I've never been one to complain about the heat. I'm loving the ongoing UK heatwave with temperatures up in the 30s. It's great. But my room's at the top of the house, so it is far more pleasant to keep the roof windows open overnight, to let whatever breaze there is cool the room down.

Fine. Until last night, that is.

I almost leapt of bed when that familiar – yet usually associated with holidays abroad – high-pitched mosquito whine faded rapidly in and out of earshot by the side of my head. Gah!

Turning on the light revealed two of them sitting on one wall and I found another buzzing randomly around under my desk. And the worst thing is when you splat them and they're already full of blood. This happened. I hurriedly went to wash my hands.

Of course you can never get them all. I woke up with three or four mosquito bite lumps on my arm and one on my leg.

Since when did they invade this fine green land? I thought they languished further south in France, Spain and, you know, all those other countries. Who went and told them we got some sun? Damn them and their whiney biting little ways...

So now my windows are shut, it's too hot to sleep, and they'll probably find a way in anyway. And worst of all every slight itch now feels like a mosquito landing on my skin and preparing to tuck into a meal.

Photo, perhaps rather aptly, by David Midgley.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Minus 61 In Detroit...

...was a techno record released in 1995 by David Holmes.

I doubt it's been that cold in Detroit since the arrival of mankind, on either the Celcius or Farenheit scale. But it is currently +29ÂșC in London. Outside. And it's midnight.

For those of you who live in walmer climes, that's pretty rare. Possiby a record. No extra blanket required tonight...

Monday, July 17, 2006

India blocks blogs

According to Boing Boing, the Indian government has told ISPs in India to block a number of domains including *.blogspot.com. If this is true then it certainly represents a step in the wrong direction.

At the time of writing this, it's not clear why they have done it. Maybe they don't like people having access to independent news and opinions?

Read the article

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Quinn

If – like me – you're supposed to be doing something constructive but would much rather waste time doing something unproductive (and if you're also a Mac user) then I recommend you download Quinn. It's an excellent and free Tetris clone with network gaming features.

Unfortunately, according to the website, its creator Simon Haertel has been forced to stop distributing the game due to a nasty letter from The Tetris Company. It's a shame really as judging from their website they don't seem to be too active, at least on the web front.

Anyway, a few seconds on Google turned up the goods and you can download it here from Softpedia. At least for the time being.

Rise Festival


Yesterday, The Eyechild and I went to the Rise Festival in Finsbury Park.

Well, we got there eventually anyway. I set off from home much too late and jumped on a bus to EyechildVille. Then we waited a while for someone else who was supposed to be coming along but had gone to Ikea instead. And doesn't own a mobile phone.

So we gave up waiting and set off. Then it took a painful amount of time to get there on buses and indirect tubes because the Victoria Line was offline.

Anyway – yawn – I'm as bored of this post already as you undoubtedly are. Suffice to say it wasn't that good which is a shame because its anit-racism cause is, as ever, a worthy one. Maybe if I'd got there earlier and found a stage with some good music it would have been more enjoyable. As it was the best thing about the day was this large bottle of Beck’s.

Friday, July 07, 2006

7/7

The policeman standing outside my local tube station this morning marked the first anniversary of the London transport bombings. No doubt at some point he’ll have the unenviable task of having to stop and search some ‘suspicious looking’ individual who happens to be carrying a Fitness First bag or something.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t expect the police to do anything other than put out an increased presence one year on from the event. Just imagine the situation if something did happen again and they’d not put extra eyes on the transport system. Then there’d be one hell of an uproar.

But the primary effect of this climate of paranoia is of course the loss of our liberties. Not to mention the life of Charles de Menezes last year (and correct me if I’m wrong but we’ve still not got to the bottom of that one have we?)

The bottom line is that there’s a huge cultural difference between western cultures and the middle eastern cultures. We have different values. And a small (yes, emphasis on small) number of misguided individuals take it all much too far. They’re deluded by the idea that they’re doing what their god wants (an idea with which – incidentally – I cannot begin to empathise with because I’m an atheist). Clearly: god or no god, there’s no excuse for their actions.

But the governments of the USA and the UK in particular are the ones largely responsible for this political and social mess. Their policies with respect to the middle east are terrible. And the right wing Neo-Christian US government (hey guess what - also deluded by the idea that they’re doing what their god wants) commits as many war crimes as any ‘rogue’ (oil harbouring) nation they care to pick on. Guantanamo bay anyone? Christ...

Oh sorry, I blasphemed there.

It’s the ideal breeding ground for more AK47-clutching madmen. The extremists hardly need any more fuel for their fantasies. Yet we’re still giving them countless ‘excuses’ to do what they want to do.

If only those with the intelligence to get together and sort out our differences were the same people with the drive and inclination to become leaders. It’s a rare combination.


This is hardly a new or rare viewpoint here in the UK. And a thousand bloggers have probably written much the same thing this morning. But the copper outside the tube this morning got me thinking about it so there you go. Rant over.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Al Scott Live

Well you wait months for a video to come along (umm OK, maybe not) then two come along on the same day! This is a video of my brother Alastair - AKA Al Scott - and his band performing recently in a north London pub. He's the shadowy figure tinkling the ivories.

Check him out at www.alscott.co.uk or here on MySpace.

Rat Race

I realised the other day that my compact digital camera can shoot and store up to 30 minutes of low-res video. So I recorded my journey to work. And made it into a sort of 90s-style dance music video. Shaky camera warning!



Music: Underground Resistance – Jupiter Jazz

Digg this video

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My world: update



I was chatting to Tom yesterday, whilst sitting outside BRB in Camberwell enjoying (as best possible, between sneezes) the afternoon sun. We got onto the subject of blogs and it occurred to me that my enthusiasm for writing posts seems to have waned somewhat recently. That's not to say (as you can clearly see) that I've not written any entries, but the content of these entries has been mostly me providing a tertiary source of geek-news. Flickr website changes and the like.

Checking back, I've not made a personal-diary-type-entry since 17th April, so I'm going to have a go right here. If you're looking for geek-news, stop reading now.

So what's new? Well currently my body seems to have taken up sneezing as its favourite pastime, (completely without my consent of course). Or, to be more precise, I'm feeling like I'm about to sneeze, 24/7. And this feeling is only interrupted by the relatively enjoyable act of sneezing itself, about once every minute on average. Pollen allergies, hayfever, whatever - I hate it. Various types of antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays seem to have had little effect.

So poor, poor me basically. I need to get myself a GP. Either that or wage war on all pollinating plants.


So what else is new (and more interesting) ?

Well I'm still taking lots of photos, and enjoying it more than ever. I'm getting better at it too. I recently bought a 50mm (prime) lens which is helping me to explore different types of photography.

new lens

I'm still listening to the same old music, though it's not looking any more likely that I'll be producing any more any time soon. My initial enthusiasm for Abelton Live proved temporary. I think there comes a time when you have to decide what things to stick at and which to allow to fall by the wayside. I have the ability to write tunes (and with a little practice I'm sure I could come up with some good stuff), but right now it's photography that's getting me excited. And I don't have time for both.

I need to make more time for my Flashteroids project too, and if there's one thing that stresses me out it's leaving a trail of unfinished work behind me.

I'd rather do fewer things, but do them properly than do lots of things, and do them badly.


Barcelona

Dunc

This is hardly hot off the press (see this Eyechild Post) but Duncan, my brother, has left Camberwell and moved to Barcelona. He's doing one of those TEFL courses for one month and aims to start teaching in September.

I went out there with him when he left (along with our friend Vic) and stayed for six days. It's a lovely city. We mostly did tourist stuff – bus tours, sitting on the beach, eating out, exploring, et cetera – so there's not an awful lot to report. ‘The ideal summer city break’, to summarise. I highly recommend it if you've not been there before. My Barcelona photos are here.

Going home was quite strange because Vic and I left early for the airport and had to leave Dunc in the hotel room. He got out of bed for goodbye hugs. I hate goodbyes at the best of times but I'm really going to miss him living down the road so I sort of lost the ability to speak properly, and ended up feeling like I'd not said enough. I sat quietly in the back of the cab to the airport. Good luck to you Dunc, and take care!

I think it's a good move for him though. If you're not enjoying it somewhere, move. And I can think of many many worse places to go and live in summer than Barcelona. If the worst comes to the worst you can always move back anyway. I look forward to visiting him later in the year.


Tomorrow

Time to wrap up this rant anyway. Tomorrow at work I'm taking a photo for an advert we're running later in the week in a magazine. I'm getting to do more and more photography at work which is great because I'm learning loads and getting paid to do what I enjoy best (yes, it seems to have overtaken designing, in my ratings). I took some photos of our creative directors recently too, and the one they pick is destined to be a fairly large full colour print in a magazine. Who knows where it will lead. It's all good for the portfolio anyway.

Whilst writing this post my sneezing seems to have calmed down a little so as soon as I've published it I'm going to shut the laptop lid, turn over and go to sleep. Who knows, maybe I'll write another ‘human’ post soon...

Good night.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Images of the Sun taken by the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer

From Digg.com. Impressive images. Looks toasty!

"""
As of May, 1999 TRACE has taken over 1.5 million images of various solar features in coordination with SOHO and other solar observatories around the world. Detector degradation has been unexpectedly light providing scientists with the hope of several more years of good seeing.
"""

read more | digg story

Sunday, May 21, 2006

D&AD Nomination

Myself and a team I worked with at Wheel have been nominated for a D&AD Award this year. It's the Brahma music ads I worked on last year, and they're nominated in the Use of Music category.

It's nice to know that the morning I spent recording bottle tapping and bottle blowing noises in my kitchen has been recognised. Not to mention those stressful late nights hammering out Actionscript.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Flickr Beta goes Gamma

The mighty Flickr has changed! I've been so busy all day that I’ve just it noticed now. Immediately noticeable is the fact that there's a new nav structure, based heavily on dropdowns (including new dropdown menus off users’ icons). And The Flash Organizr has gone, replaced by an AJAX version. The new Organize application seems a bit buggy in Safari (pages sometimes not loading) but overall I like the changes a lot. The search box on every page is another obvious example of a welcome and overdue update.

There are many more changes too. See the Flickr blog for more info. Also Thomas Hawk, photographer and Flickr full-timer, has this thorough rundown on the Flickr updates.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Mixing Bowl


Did you go to events such as Tribal Gathering or Fantazia in the 1990s? Ever wish you'd not thrown away or copied over those mixtapes?

themixingbowl.org is a website full of BitTorrent downloads of DJ mixes. There's some really good stuff on there. For example I just got a 1993 Essential Mix by FSOL. For me it’s an Alladin’s Cave!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Wildlife Photographer of the Year


Well, I went back to Stockport and Manchester for a couple of days over Easter to see family and relatives. It was a short but enjoyable break. And it's always nice to get out of London from time to time.

Now, contrary to your assumption, the name of this post doesn't refer to the title recently bestowed on me in recognition of my taking the photograph of a pigeon shown above (though this is one of a number I predictably took in Stockport and Manchester this weekend - here and here respectively should you be interested).

However, I did go to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the National History Museum yesterday and it was excellent. As a keen but mediocre amateur photographer it was also an extremely humbling experience. There were three photos in the under ten year olds category all of which were very impressive. Under ten! And as for the rest, well... Very impressive stuff.

If you're at all interested in photography and / or wildlife and haven't been I seriously recommend you check it out. It's only on till this coming Sunday April 23rd though so you haven't got much time left.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

photo blog

If you're tired of my rantings but like my photos you might be interested in my new photo blog. Starting with some shots from my archive and continuing with new photographs from day to day.

adesphotos.blogspot.com

Ade

p.s. photo blog: phlog?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Netvibes



A really handy customisable homepage. Great if you read news, blogs etc and use RSS feeds. Netvibes.com.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Drugged up on Beechams

I've been at home all weekend due to one of those generic sore throat, fuzzy brain, headache type illnesses. It's not that bad or anything, just bad enough for me to not feel up to doing very much. Like standing up, for example.

Anyway, good things often come out of being bedridden, such as having the time to enjoy a good book - which is a rare thing for me. This weekend I've made a lot of progress on the new version of my game Flashteroids. I've designed and tested four new levels and fixed a load of bugs / issues that have been outstanding since some time in 2002.

You can see all the level designs on the Flashteroids Blog, a blog I've created to catalogue the development process. The new version (1.5+) is now only a week or so away.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dead Ringers

Getting a new mobile? Apparently there are seven billion mobile phones in the world and only 1.3 billion users (from this BBC Online article). That’s quite a lot.

Fortunately you can get your old one recycled.
(End of public service announcement)

slide

I just discovered this Flickr / Flash widget from slide.com. It only took 1 minute to configure and get the HTML code to copy and paste. A bit large for some purposes perhaps but quite a nice way to show your recent photos:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Overnight Success

Lowry skiers

One of the things I love about Flickr is the way that occasionally a photo will catch everyone’s eye and its popularity explodes like wildfire.

The photo above is one such example. I took this in Livigno, one morning on the day of a whiteout. Looking at the piste from the cafe at the bottom it reminded me of one of those L.S. Lowry matchstick men paintings, so I zoomed in and managed to isolate just the people on the slope.

I posted this (and a few other photos) to Flickr last night just before I went out. When I checked back this morning it had 27 comments, 450 viewings, 39 people had added it to their favourites and it was on the homepage of Flickr's Explore section!

Quite a pleasant surprise – and totally unexpected – though I suppose the photo did come out quite well now I think about it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gridrunner AKA Firstperson

Back in 2000, when I was at university in Leeds, I stopped writing tunes. Now I know that in my Ableton Live post I said I was starting again, but in reality I seem to get round to such things at a near-glacial rate. Yes, I’ve had a few attempts, but there are no anywhere-near-finished tunes yet.

But anyway, between 1995 to 2000 I put together a few tracks using my PC at home and various bits of kit at my 6th form college and university. Only about two or three of the tunes are actually any good but I like them all for their sentimental value and naivety.

I recently recovered a few of them off cassette and I’ve posted them up on Last FM under my old pseudonym Firstperson. There's one ‘EP’ (better) and an archive selection (older):

Firstperson – EP1
Firstperson – Archive

Make of it what you will. Console is the best tune IMO. They’re all a bit long though!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Back from Livigno



Well I’m back from my snowboarding holiday, which actually turned into a skiing holiday. I just couldn’t handle playing out the new media clichĂ©. Well, that and the fact that I went straight to the top of a mountain, tried to snowboard down and spent over two hours falling on my arse. I got to the bottom of the run and decided to swap the board for skis. I just couldn’t be bothered spending the week learning when I knew I could already ski really well. I could do the same run in under 20 minutes on a set of skis.

All in all it was a great week. Lots of snow, lots of skiing very fast, a bit of getting stuck off-piste, and the predictable splashing of booze.

Here’s the photo set, which at time of writing only contains about half of my Ixus photos. I’ve not even looked at the one of the SLR yet. Check back in a week or so if pictures of snow and mountains are your thing.

So, back to normal now. Dunc’s back from his adventures in Honduras too, which sounds like it was pretty much amazing.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Going Snowboarding

I’m off to Livigno in Italy tomorrow morning for a week of snowboarding. I’ve been skiing before and was pretty good at that, though I realise that snowboading is completely different. I actually tried it for one day at the end of my skiing holiday and after a few hours I was doing OK. So hopefully I’ll be able to pick it up in a couple of days.

The only thing is that most if not all of the other guys going are quite experienced snowboarders so it’s probably just going to be me on my own on the baby slopes or doing lessons until I get the hang of it. The other beginner (my mate Robin) had to drop out due to a mix-up over dates and the subsequent clash with his trip to America.

Anyway, I’m very excited about it. I’ll be back in a week (hopefully in one piece) to bore everyone with lots of photos of white stuff.

Ciao,
Ade

Sunday, February 26, 2006

dare’s new home

view full photo set on Flickr

Dare, the digital marketing agency I work for, is bursting at the seams. We’ve outgrown our current premises and don’t have space to seat the people we want to hire. So we’ve recently signed on a new premises over the road.

Unfortunately a lot of work needs to be done on the interior so we’re not going to be able to move in for a few months. I went over there with a small group to take a look at the place in its current state. It’s HUGE compared to our current place: four floors each of which is double the size of our current three working floors.

And I believe we’re getting rid of those horrible carpet tiles!

Predictably, I took some photos:
floor storage sockets floor 1
...and made a set on Flickr.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Photo Catch-up



The one problem with taking loads of photographs is that you end up with a massive backlog. Because I mostly shoot in RAW format I need to do a lot of manual adjustment to get each final image as I want it. If shooting on a compact camera then taking the reulting JPEGs straight off it is the digital equivalent to taking a film to be processed at Boots, then what I do is essentially the digital equivalent of processing your own film in a darkroom. And it takes ages, an average of 20 minutes per image though sometimes as much as an hour.

Over half of that time is spent waiting for the computer to load the image, reduce noise, render adjustment layer settings and finally save it. So I could do with a faster computer. The problem is that resolution will probably keep going up so computers will always be slightly behind. Also, I said I wasn’t going to buy any more gadgets for a few months, so, hmmm. No I’m going to hold back for a while.

Anyway in this post a couple of weeks ago I said photos from my brother’s jam session performance were forthcoming. The shot above is taken from the set and the rest of the set is here.

Still being quite new to the whole photography thing I made a couple of glaring errors with the camera settings so there’s a fair bit of motion blurring and ghosting going on, but on the whole I’d say they’re not too bad.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Glow Party

I took this on the way home from Camberwell on Sunday. Glow Party, this Friday at The Swan in Stockwell.

Doesn’t it sound awesome? Not only are they giving out free glow sticks but there’s a Robbie Williams tribute act on too. I know which bus stop I’ll be alighting at on Friday. See you there*.

(*somewhere else)