Archive for July, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest

I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest last night as I hadn’t been to the cinema in a while so thought it would be a good laugh. I don’t want to write an in depth review about it but thought I would pop a few words onto the blog.

Firstly it was a great film, the hillarious scenes from the first one are not lost in this installment and Kiera Knightley was hot as ever (sorry, couldn’t resist that comment). As ever with the second film in a series of 3 it got a bit darker in places. While the first film was far from a joke, the theme was very much out for having a laugh with a bit of plot to hold it all together. This didn’t seem to be true for Dead Mans Chest; the plot was most of it with a bit of humour thrown in. All the characters were that little more selfish I think is the best way of desribing it.

Still, this slight change of heart didn’t detract from the film as a whole, and I was still laughing just as hard throughout most of it. Incidents like when Jack Sparrow shoots his way out of a casket he has escaped in blowing away a crow with it and the sword fight in/on a water wheel as it careered down the hill making its occupants ever more dizzy by the minute. Truely priceless moments they really were.

Then of course we come to the ending. Now I’m not going to blow it for those folk who haven’t seen it, but not because I don’t want to, because its impossible to do so. The ending I’m afraid was exactly what happened at the end of Matrix : Reloaded. They simply set the scene for the 3rd film, there wasn’t really an ending in its own right. It was wishy-washy at best and left a lot of things unfinished and the audience feeling as if they had missed out on something even though they had been glued to the screen the whole time. I don’t doubt that with the 3rd film it will pick up and we will all praise the series, but I think that like many others that have come before it the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy will be one best watched back to back on DVD round your friends house with a large keg of beer and some microwave popcorn.

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Firefox explodes IE

What with the various little bits I have had to do lately and the excitement and preparations for the North Sea Jazz festival I have had much less time for blogging than I normally do.

Yesterday however I got sent this great link which both made my day and still makes me laugh just as loud as the first time I saw it. Enjoy Firefox explodes IE :D

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Microsoft making progress?

Could this be true? Me writing about MS making some kind of progress, well yes actually, your eyes are not decieving you. Today I have been doing battle with the age old issue of getting valid CSS to behave the way the standards say it should behave in IE 6. This is an issue that has always driven me stark raving mad, to the point of shouting at the screen simply because I know I am right with respect to the CSS and its MS’s fault that it isn’t showing properly, worse, I know that if I don’t employ hacks to make it show correctly a whole load of my IE using customers will think my sites are non-functional.

In sheer desparation today I decided to install IE 7 beta 3 and see if there was some hope that the issues that frustrate me every day as a web designer would one day come to an end. Amazingly the first thing I tried (the site I had been trying to iron out issues with) rendered correctly. This has to be at least some progress as it gave me a little bit of hope and started to bring me out of the pit of dispair. I started noticing other things too, mainly valid code showing as expected.

There are still many old issues remaining; things like gaps where there should not and automatic indents and suchlike not specified in the style, but it is making progress, at least progress when bench-marked against older versions of IE. I will never be an everyday Windows user, but I like to think that looking into the future there is possibly a glimmer of hope that one day the code I write that validates at W3C will be displayed on IE in Windows the way I see it in Firefox and Opera for Linux.

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Books for sale

When I moved house I decided that I would get rid of some of my old physics books, after all I wasn’t using them and if I sold them I could use the proceeds to buy computing books for next year which I will of course be needing. The problem is I didn’t anticipate how quickly they would sell after listing them on amazon and went away to stay with my family. Since being away I have had 2 books sell, and of course they are back at home and I am unable to dispatch them till I get back which is a good week away. I’m not one to sniff at a quick sale, but when you are unable to close the deal simply because they sold so quickly you’re not there to post them, it can be a tad annoying, not only for me but for those who bought them!

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Box free

I’m at home for a few days before I head off the the North Sea Jazz festival. I’m happy then for more reasons than one; not only am I going to an awesome festival and being able to see more great artists in a few days than I probably will do in the next 5 years, but I’m also currently in a box free house. It might not sound like much, but being surrounded by boxes that seem to bear down on you and make you feel intimidated to the point where all you do is try and tidy up rather than all the other things you need to do bringing your productivity to an all time low is not fun.

I’m hoping to use my time at home before the festival to relax a little, enjoy some home cooking and get my productivity with code etc. back on track.

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Coffee with Niall

After literally years of knowing Niall Fleming over the internet, initially meeting in the early days of ADSLTech, I finally got to meet him face to face today. Its often something that is thought of as odd, meeting people in person who you have met over the internet, but with Niall this just wasn’t the case. We got on really well, and on balance talked surprisingly little about the project we are both involved in, RouterTech, with most conversation orientated around uni and general course bits.

Niall brought Victoria (his girlfriend) along as well so I got to chat with her too. We all had a relaxing coffee in Starbucks and a wander around leeds, dropping past the corn exchange which surprisingly I had never been inside before – despite being simply a shopping centre, its an amazing building in terms of structure. We ended up in the Leeds computing students’ favorite haunt, the quilted llama, and had a drink in there whilst trying (but failing) not to bore Victoria with chatter about various technical things. I guess it was inevitable ;)

We talked about possibly getting some of the other members of the RouterTech team together for a meetup and as we quickly realised, it would be a really nice idea. I’m not sure how, when or where, or even who on the team would want to, but with all the work we do together it would be great to be able to finally enjoy the virtual pints we have all bought each other over the years for real.

Niall if you are reading this, it was great meeting you mate :)

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Teething troubles

Its always the same when you move to any new place that there are a few niggles that while in the grand scheme of things can and probably will be lived with, really get on your nerves.

First and foremost, the shower. It’s a nice, hot, electric shower, what more could you ask….. except, the pressure is awful. I don’t know if its because I have been used to getting a good blasting to skin tingling levels or what, but I do know that the trickle I got this morning was not what I am used to. I now have to work out if I am either inept with the controls or that it really is just like that and I will have to live with it. I may well be taking baths a lot more regularly as opposed to showers; after all on this mornings time scale a bath may well be just as quick and yet somehow they always seem nicer.

Secondly, washing. We have a great little washer/dryer with a load of programs and what-not which I feel sure could wash every type of clothes under the sun. The problem is the drying phase simple doesn’t seem to dry. It leaves clothes in a warm, clingy state as if they had just been washed at 60 and then spun at top whack for 30 minutes with no room to breathe. While one can, given time, hang clothes out to dry, on a day like yesterday I have neither the time nor the space to do this. My clothes are still wet and I’m going down south tonight, and there is hardly the space to hang them up because of the number of half-empty boxes still lying around. With a spacious basement I am seriously considering investing in a proper dryer to go down there; I have visions of waking up one morning for lectures only to find I have no dry clothes and 30 minutes to do something about it.

Finally (and this is my own doing it really is), I simply have too much stuff for the space available. I really do wonder how I ever got it all in anywhere let alone halls where I have just come from. I think the issue in this place has something to do with under bed storage, it being distintly non-existant due to the design of the bed. Trouble is its very comfortable and so I wouldn’t want to not have it, its just a pain.

Anyhows, now I’ve got all that off my chest I guess I just have to make the best of it. As they say, onwards and upwards.

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Bomb site

Walk into our new house and it really does look like it would give world war 2 a run for its money. You can’t move in the kitchen or the lounge for the stuff thats all over the floor, and as for the rooms, they are a shambles beyond compare. I have to remind myself that this happens everytime you move, if I didn’t I think I would go insane.

I’m just holding out for this weekend when I can hopefully take a much needed break on board Burnaby.

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Last blog from Clarence Dock

Yes, the time really has come, this is my last ever post from Clarence Dock in Leeds. It’s been an interesting 6 months as a number of blog postings have made clear, but overall going into halls for the latter half of this year is something I’m very glad I did. I never thought I would find myself back in halls of any description but it has really reinforced the fact that halls are a great introduction to uni. If you get put in a block where you make good friends it gives you a kick start into social circles, if not then it inspires you to go out more and meet new people in different settings.

I’ve certainly felt very liberated as an individual while being here and to coin a well worn phrase, I’ve been able to find myself a bit more. Things like enjoying more live music, staying out all night, chatting to random people and even simple nights in reading interesting books in an uninterrupted environment has all made it a positive personal experience. I’m looking forward to going back into a more familiar house setting though, after all its far too long since I’ve had a good cheese and wine evening and with an open, spacious kitchen and comfortable lounge my new place is completely fit for purpose :)

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Trying to tell me something

I wondered this morning if someone was trying to tell me something when my internet connection wasn’t working as it meant that instead of wading through e-mails and forums I actually got a huge amount of stuff done towards the move and generally sorting through my stuff – it’s amazing how much time the internet wastes from the real world, even if what you ar using it for is essential. Still, now I have the internet back again I’m booking my train tickets home, ordering a phone line and internet for the new house and of course blogging. Some things never change ;)

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