Little Tokyo

Its a restaurant I’ve walked past many times when I used to live in Clarence Dock, but I’d never actually eaten there. Until yesterday that is. Its actually a superb little place. The service is quick and the food is excellent. I ordered a reasonable size portion according to the menu but it was huge when it arrived and very tasty. There is also a huge range of food on offer, with a nice selection of specialities extending into drinks and deserts as well. I never thought bowls could be made of ice and that green tea makes good ice cream, but I was mistaken!

The prices were not cheap, but as a place to go and enjoy good food and the relaxed atmosphere in the company of friends its the ideal venue. We all enjoyed ourselves and I’m sure we will return at somepoint in the not too distant future.

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Tropical World

On the outskirts of Leeds, in Roundhay, there is great place to spend a day out – Tropical World! For Chris’ birthday we headed out there as a group and spent the afternoon looking at all the amazing creatures they have there. A fair few photos were taken by us all too, you can catch my contribution in my photo gallery.

After our visit we grabbed a pub lunch and then as most of the group got things ready for snacks and drinks at Chris’ place, myself and Norm went to the pub with Chris and sunk a few ales. It was nice to chat to Chris and Norm over a few drinks as its not something we’ve really done before outside of a group setting.

After we’d got ourselves nicely tipsey at the pub we went over to Chris’ house and had a nice evening chatting with everyone, and for me, catching up with what had been going on while I had been away down south. It just proved to me how great a group of friends I have here and how much fun our gatherings and days out really are. Oh and if you haven’t yet heard, Sarann got really rather drunk 😉

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Working like a dog

Working like a dog might be a figure of speech but it certainly seems like that is what is required of me now I’m back in Leeds. I’ve got 4 programming type courseworks on the go, not to mention a few websites to launch and some programming to do for a couple of clients. I’m making progress already but I never thought I’d say this I’m actually looking forward to the beginning of term when I know I will have completed all of these assignments.

One particular thing that I will be working very hard on over the next few days will be my SE24 group project. James in my group has been doing some truly sterling work on the GUI and I really have to take my hat off to his efforts. All that is required now is for me to make some serious inroads into the database and logic code so that the nice screens actually do something in the context of the application! Still, it will all be worth it in the end I hope.

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SoC Gossip Returns

After a while of downtime which various blogging policies were sorted out, SoC Gossip is back up and running again. If you’ve forgotten what it looks like, want to see whats new or want to get back writing for the site I advise you head on over there now.

Hopefully it will become a useful resource for the school of computing once again. I certainly missed it during the downtime and look forward to writing a fair few interesting articles for it over the coming months. Keep a look out!

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Tropical World

Tropical World

A group trip to Tropical World on the outskirts of Leeds led to lots of great photos being taken

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Spring St. Albans

Spring St. Albans

I had lunch with James in town while I was back home but because the day was so nice I decided to play about taking a few photos in and around Verulamium park

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Fraud

Its never nice when it happens but it looks like I’m a victim of fraud. A while ago I sold my old Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop on eBay so I could purchase one that was more suited to my needs. There was nothing wrong with the machine, it had served me well, but it was time for the drive to be wiped and for it to find a new home.

Like many people I figured eBay would be the best place to sell the laptop and indeed purchase a new one, so I took a photo and listed it. After a few hiccups where Nigerian scammers attempted to get me to send the laptop to Lagos I sold the laptop to a local person (relatively speaking anyway) who requested to be able to pickup after paying for the item. I agreed to this and so after receiving the payment in a completed state via paypal I provided my address for him to collect. He did so the next day.

Things started to go wrong a few days later when paypal put a hold on the funds that had been sent to me in the sale for “Investigation”. While rather unusual I have known this to happen before, especially with larger payments and as such wasn’t too concerned and decided to see what came of it. I did hold off leaving the buyer feedback in case there was a problem.

Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse some weeks later when I got confirmation from paypal via e-mail that the funds had in fact been reversed and I was both without laptop and payment. Only recently have I spoken to paypal and found there is categorically no way to recover the funds through them and that the buyer used fraudulent means to transfer them to me in the first place.

This leaves me in a nasty state of limbo. I want to take more action but feel I’m rapidly reaching the end of the line in what I *can* actually do. I’ve got eBay to place an unpaid item strike on the users account, but this has only served to get me my final value fees and listing fees back, a mere £15 compared with a £400 sale. Contacting the buyer proved useless; no response was received to e-mails and the phone number listed turned out the be a Keighley take away shop.

I noted however that the buyer had logged onto and used his eBay account because he had bought further items (laptops and computers) from other sellers, no doubt intending to defraud them too. I contacted one seller (who sold an expensive item to him before me) and was told that the sale was in fact OK, but I decided to leave negative feedback in order to warn other sellers about this individual. I also made a note of the other sellers who had sold to him in case I needed to contact them, after all if he’d defrauded a whole lot of us then we had strength in numbers. Surprise, surprise within hours of leaving the negative feedback the buyer made his feedback private. So he can log on and access his account when it suits him, but not read my messages which were there for him also – clearly a fraud.

The problem is where to go from here. I could contact the police, but with such a low (relatively speaking anyhow) priced item they are unlikely to investigate the case, at least not to a point where I get the money or the laptop and its likely to use up a fair whack of my time speaking to them and filling in forms. An insurance claim is useless as I intended to sell the item – it wasn’t stolen from me in the direct sense – so they haven’t have any interest in it. The last option I considered was a debt collection agency as I have a name and address for the individual, but I can’t be sure if the details are correct and all agencies have fees associated with them and I could stand to lose yet more money if they cannot trace the buyer.

All suggestions and comments are welcome of course, but it looks like I’ve lost the laptop with no payment and thats really not a nice situation to be in, in fact I’m rather unhappy and annoyed to be honest :(

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What goes around

Everybody has heard the phrase “What goes around, comes around” but there is one thing I never thought we’d see the mass return of – chain e-mails. First we had chain letters, then when everyone went mad over Hotmail and MSN Messenger we had chain e-mails. The latter certainly promised bad luck if you didn’t send them on, but I believe both carried some form of text strongly encouraging you to not break the chain.

Well, they are back! Not in letter form, not even in e-mail, but in the form of facebook notes. A lot of them have been altered to suit the format of facebook (mentioning walls etc.) but they are certainly the same old chain mail kind of thing. The wonderful thing about this re-incarnation is that is shows how many people actually *want* to take part. With e-mails everyone got one, like it or not, so it was a real pain if , like me, you resented the deluge of “Fwd” e-mails appearing in your box. Now though you only see peoples forwarding work on the feed page and so you can ignore it if you want. As such, I was amazed at how many people are taking part in this.

I really thought that these were just some school kid idea of a way to avoid doing homework in the evenings but clearly not. All I can say is there must be an awful lot of university courses that either are not being engaged in fully by students or that aren’t giving students enough to do!

The one downside of it all is that people using the notes to do some serious blogging are finding their readers have their feed aggregation page polluted by such messages and as such are not reading the good blogs as often as they might, or even not at all as the chain type notes tend to be long and the thin format of the facebook pages mean that a lot of scrolling is required to get past them. This perhaps is something facebook should address, but quite how they would I’m not sure. Maybe they could just display a summary on the feed aggregation page and so reduce the need for scrolling and also making it easier to see the more serious posts on offer.

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Brilliant few days

Hard work but brilliant would be the one line summary of my stay on Burnaby these last few days. I traveled to the East coast late on Sunday morning and was already hard at work by 2pm. Having a boat is wonderful but there is a lot of work involved in getting her ready for the sailing season.

This year, the to-do list looked something like this:

  • Take off winter covers
  • Remove old varnish off deck rail
  • Sand deck rail
  • Varnish deck rail (3 coats)
  • Rub down lower half of the hull
  • Paint anti-foul onto lower half of hull
  • Paint the black waterline
  • Polish the top half of the hull
  • Repair broken water pipe on starboard water tank
  • Fix bangs and scrapes in top half of hull

Every job brings us one step closer to being ready to sail though and its a superb feeling. Being away from daily life was also very enjoyable. Friends will have to pinch themselves to believe that I didn’t actually touch a computer during my nearly 5 days away, and my phone was off except for when I switched it on to call Heather on occasion. All this means I’m much less stressed and clearer in my head about what I have got to do and how to go about doing it. Running a business isn’t difficult, but without a good break the workload can be confusing and overloading.

In the evenings we had some nice sunsets and as ever I had my camera on hand. I’ve taken a few shots and will try to get them online for all to see soon.

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Boat work

Its that time of the year again when I help get Burnaby ready for the next sailing season. Theres lots of work to be getting on with from painting to polishing but as always its fun because its one step closer to getting out on the sea again. As usual this means I won’t be contactable for the next few days, but hopefully I should return rested, less stressed and more productive. I hope to take a few pictures on the coast as well :)

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