Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy new year

Making a tartiflette (possibly the highest calorie savory dish I know, bacon, potatoes, creme fraiche and a reblochon cheese) and drinking Kir Royales (now my drink of the season) while watching the snow and fireworks from the balcony.

It has been an interesting year. New home location, new career path, new ways to be fucked over at work. Overall a good one though. Finishing it off in the mountains with friends is just about perfect.

Tomorrow I'll be up early hitting the powder, no over doing it for me tonight, it's dumping and I don't want to miss it because of a hangover. Whatever you are doing out there have a good one and all the best for 2009.

Bon Annee!

The Beautiful couple

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

At la poudress

Chocolate and vin chaud. Good riding today.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shit eating grins

Great snow great weather time for lunch.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beautiful morning but...

Check out the queue for lift passes! Busy this weekend then.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gone Boarding

Friday, December 26, 2008


Getting prepped

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Din dins

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Last chance for turkey

Christmas eve, still a few left.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Reason I Should Probably Not Breed

It has become a running gag with me and Jola that if we have kids and we have triplets then there would be no other option but to name them Huey, Dewey and Louey (maybe the Frenchified "Louis") after Scrooge McDuck's nephews. However I now have a new top ranking name for number one son... Little Bobby Tables it is.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The camera on this thing isn't too hot at the macro zoom (yes I take
my phone to the bath) but I have been staring at the condensation on
this glass for some time now.

I'm pretty sure my younger self would be fairly dismissive of the idea
that an evening spent in the bath drinking wine, reading and listening
to music would be a luxury.

A Slang Word For Chavs.

It's the Daily Mail providing insightful and balanced coverage of video games once again. Scrabble is my latest gaming obsession so I think I'll be grabbing this.

A Lincon mother got Scrabble in a 2for1 deal at Asda and was "horrified" when the game laid down "crude slang words and abuse". It started out with the fuzzy area (as anyone who has worked on a swear filter for a government project will tell you) of "Tits" - Garden bird or Jubblies?

To add injury to insult (see what I did there) the AI that dished out the potty mouth plays kicked the mother's arse with a triple word score "Fuckers" which according to the game's built in dictionary is "a slang word for chavs"

Then Alex S. from London weighs in with a comment that gets right to the heart of the matter:

It is disgrace. This country is based on Christian principles and through these principles this country became prosperous. Why this country started hating itself? Who these modern politicians want to please by fighting Christianity? What is the ultimate aim of multiculturalism? We've had enough of this "modern" liberal nonsense.
You tell 'em Alex, you tell 'em!

Mother's fury over Nintendo Scrabble game that taught her son swear words

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Rock Band Fog Machine Kit (Oh Yes!)

Somebody please buy this and bring it round next session.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Nature watch (Divinity road edition)

Let's see... Two traffic cones and a flower stem lodged in a tree.
That's a sure sign that the students are nesting in the area. We think
this behaviour is from a male either marking his territory to warn off
other males or to entice a female to his mating chamber.

We will keep an eye on this nest and come back to it later in the show.

Hangover cure

Enormous mug of coffee. Scented candles. Deep bath. Painkillers.
Should be feeling right in an hour or so.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting real christmasy

We weren't going to get involved in the Christmas hype this year. Then
we walked through the Market and couldn't resist. So now I'm off to
get tree decorations.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Now it's Christmas!

First mulled wine of the season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hair care product of choice for mr. Livingstone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crawl, Lube, Wank

One of those three will be my next move for sure.

Reading's best claim to fame.

I was delighted to discover that Reading had been hiding a cultural
secret from me all this time. The public conveniences of the Oracle
shopping centre have won the national "Loo of the year" award for the
last six years running. As if that was not enough "Lizzie" has also
been "Loo attendant of the year" in three of those years!

Well done Reading and well done Lizzie! I shall be sure to come and
take a dump in your palace of piss and poo before I leave town at the
end of my contract.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Anticipation Dashboard

Because waiting for a snowboarding trip is, for me, like a 5 year old waiting for Christmas and because I have a little time on my hands today I have found a use for the OS X dashboard. Now a flick of the wrist or a press of F12 gives me a full update on the resorts where I will be heading to this winter in just a scant month. The really great news is that it appears to be totally dumping there right now. Long may it continue!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Adventures of Dr. McNija

My favorite web comic of the moment. "He kills with one hand and heals with the other"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Genius of Chris Ware

I just picked up from the post office my copy of The Acme Novelty Library #19. I had pre-ordered it on Amazon an age ago and completely forgot about it so was very happy to see it ship on Friday. Pity it then took me another 5 days to get it into my hands but it was worth it. The back cover is a joy.
Unfortunately I don't have the book to hand so can't put a transcript of it here. Basically its a political riff about convenient south american subjugation.

Admittedly it could be considered another retelling of the Jimmy Corrigan tale - How an awkward child grew out of a dysfunctional family into an even more awkward adult - but seeing as the telling is so very very good I can forgive. The first part of the book "The seeing eye dogs of Mars" is fantastic. It's apparently a short story written by Rusty Brown about the failed relationship of a colonist sent to seed Mars with human life. I have only started reading it (greedily) after ripping open the package but have shown discipline and put it down until Saturday morning when I will lie in bed drinking coffee and eating fresh fruit bread and enjoy it in full.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gears of Gore

A capture from a recent multiplayer death match. Nufkin takes down some Locust scum.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Can't stop listening to...

Balaclava by Nu:Tone.
It's on "The Future Sound of Cambridge" from Hospital. The rest of the
album has some cracking tracks on it too but this is the stand out
call for a rewind monster in my books.
The tune is exactly how I want my Drum&Bass. Melodic, trancy and
juicy. Seriously, get a hold of this one by any means necessary.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

RE: At Bloody Last.

Kirk asks: "You gonna release it freeware?"

My aims at the moment are:

  1. package the cyberlink c library into a UIKit compatible library and release it (obviously free as this is someone elses library. indeed they have mentioned that they will support iPhone anyway so I should really contact them).
  2. package a Sonos zone manipulation wrapper around that and release.
  3. Create an app for me. If its good enough (and if I ever get an official developer license then release it)

will the final application be free? Right now I don't know. Probably. If only because I do not have the time to provide any kind of support for users. Maybe a honesty box approach although that would undoubtedly prove a block to getting it on the app-store as its either free or Apple takes a cut.
For me its a labor - not of love - but of geek pride. I just want to prove to myself that I can do this and it keeps me brain active.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

UPnP Control Prototype

After a full day of hacking (including a couple of updates to libraries, SDKs, and OS patching) I have got a (f'ugly) application that;

  1. looks at my network for UPnP devices
  2. finds those that look like Sonos zones and puts them in a dropdown
  3. queries the queue of the selected device and displays back meta data
  4. displays the album art of the current track
I have learnt a whole metric ass-ton about;
  • Xcode
  • Objective C pointers
  • XML Parsing in Obj C
  • UPnP
  • Cocoa garbage collection
  • Initialisation ordering in Cocoa
Tomorrow I am going to see if I can cross compile and port it onto the iPhone and then it's really going to get complicated when I start implementing the control operations. Oh and of course I will have a whole new GUI framework to learn. again.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Autum sun

Still warm enough to sit outside and have a cup of tea despite being
surrounded by fallen leaves.

At Bloody Last!

Finally got a UPNP SDK compiled in XCode AND succesfully browsing my network and finding all the Sonos ZonePlayers. It really was easy once I found the right library to use. Now all I have to do is cross compile it for the iPhone and I am onto the path.

Of course there is already an app in the appstore that controls Sonos but its $15 and I want to do my own.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Seriously. It's a hard life

After a couple of nights in shithole hotels I managed to get a cheap
rate in malmaison. Pity I will only be sleeping here for 4 hours.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More cake.

This time the lucky kid was me!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another week done. Get me home.

Baby got the bends

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Some lucky kid is going to get this wicked cake for his birthday.

Mmm. Supper time

Shitty week at work. Followed by beer, jazz and a kebab. Hope to get
some sleep this weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Discussions brainstorm

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Son Foguero

A little walkthrough of the place we stayed last week. Really difficult to describe just how cool it was. Hopefully the video does just that.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Welcome Home

So this is how it feels, originally uploaded by RickHawkins.

After a week in the 30 degree warmth of the Med arriving in the UK was almost stereotypical. It took 1 hour 20 to complete the second leg of the flight from Düsseldorf, and then 1 hour sitting on the tarmac because rain had delayed everything from leaving so there was no room at the inn.

Then it took 45 minutes to get luggage, the bus delayed by 30 minutes and then a further 2 hours of crawling along the motorway in the pouring rain.


Iliad eBook Reader

I finally got my Iliad a couple of days before going on holiday.
Seeing as I suggested them in the first place and Gunveer and Alex
have been using theirs for a month or more now I was a little late to
the party.

Holiday reading was a good test run out for it. The screen is a joy to
read from and the weight and size is perfect. It's a pity that all the
companion software so far is windows only but I will be gaining shell
access soon and start hacking. This week will be the first real test
of it as a note taking device for me. The other team members use it
for this but I am sure that I can tweak out a bit more functionality
than they are getting.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's not a sunset if you can't see the sun

Just about time up on the summer. Back to school/work on Monday. It's
been a bloody marvelous holiday perfect combination of good hotel and
uncrowded nearby beaches. Oh and let's not forget the superb Cafe el
Sol bar in Serra del Marina. Seriously, visit it if you are ever in
northern Mallorca.

I did promise myself no standard balearic sunset photos this year but
seeing as I had my back to the sun I am letting this one go.

Late lunch

Last day at the beach. Waiting for langustines sipping a cold beer.

Open source music?

I have had a bit of time on my hands over the last couple of days (the joys of being on holiday) and this coupled with the trance laden radio station Global FM Mallorca that is permanently tuned on the car radio has led to me fiddling with music again.

I don't think I have actually tried to put together a composition for nearly eight years now. Not properly anyway. Needless to say I am seriously out of practice and my clumsy attempts at the easiest of build-break-build-drop formula are rather disappointing. Still the exercise has taught me a couple of things.

  1. Macs are cool.
    Garage Band, whilst limited, is a very very cool bit of pack in software. Simple loop and sample arranging and editing is a breeze. There are a load of pretty decent virtual instruments and the effects selection and customisation is broad. Now this could of course just be the effect of eight years of progress since I picked up a bit of music software as when-I-were-lad you just couldn't do this kind of thing on a mid level consumer laptop.
  2. Creativity is a muscle.
    It is definitely a case of "use it or lose it". Although I can listen to a tune and de-construct it's component parts and appreciate the work that has gone in to it I have lost the ability to easily put together the building blocks myself. I should practice more and to do so I need to make time for it.
  3. Music needs space to grow.
    Because I have just been fiddling on and off in the evenings I have not been doing the eight hour plus all-nighters I used to do when writing tunes. I think this is a good thing. Being so close to a track makes me lose focus on what it needs and coming back to it after a break I can hear it's strengths and weaknesses a lot easier.
  4. Collaboration helps.
    I need second opinions, critique and compliment. However what is needed is a way of easily passing work back and forth so that collaborators can work on it. Furthermore it would be great if there were some kind of version control, a subversion for music. In the old days passing stuff between collaborators was tricky unless there was a shared set-up or studio. Now with advances in software as they are it should be relatively simple so long as all parties are using the same software.
So with that in mind I dump here the work in progress mp3 of the tune that I am fiddling with and also the Garage Band file. Take it as released under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use. I would love to get feedback, bear in mind before being too harsh though that it is very very much work in progress and really just accumulation of ideas at this point.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Final Countdown.

Sitting at the ultimate redneck village fête but Mallorcan style I
find myself contemplating the lyrics to "The Final Countdown". Let's
see if I've got this straight... For some reason humanity needs to
leave Earth. I'm guessing this is due to some kind of major disastor
such as massive global warming or solar supernova. So where do we go
in the face of impending doom? Venus (maybe they've seen us) which
kind of rules out the supernova theory and seeing as Venus is a living
study in the greenhouse effect it would seem a bit daft to go there if
your world had become too hot. With this incredible lack of solar
system awareness in mind also note that humanity (represented by the
poodle do'd Germans here) expects that we have "so many light years to
go". I'm not quite sure which route they are taking but last I checked
Venus could be reached in well under ten light minutes.

Moral of the story... Don't trust the interstellar fate of human kind
to the Germans.

Another town, another festa, another beer.

We left santa margalida in search of the night market in Maria de salut. Seems the market was cancelled in favour of the festa. We have stopped for a beer or three to watch the locals throw illegal fireworks at each other.

Festa Beata

Cake, wine, football, music and a cursory nod to religion in santa margalida.

GPS take me home

Used to be that driving around islands in the med was a bit of an exercise in dodgy map interpretation. Then along came consumer GPS and saved us from a world of holiday navigation based arguments.

Beach seafood

Mussels and dorado

Day's end. Tea time.

Beach starting to empty. Going to wander to the bar for some calamari.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Terrace view

Another lazy day spent by the pool. 1 novel down 4 to go. Going to have some food on the terrace in the evening sun then probably settle into a comfortably drunken haze.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Festa de jola

All the towns we have seen so far have given their main squares this roof of white tissue stuff. Something to do with the August festival season. Its a striking contrast against the sky, which is - I guess - the point.

Breakfast time

Breakfast in the salon. A room full of sculpture, blown glass and paintings.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nobody here but us chickens

Big advantage of this place is the major feeling of privacy. The hotel only has 5 rooms so the only noise by the pool is the occasional sound of the chickens making us eggs for breakfast.

Good morning

Waking up in Mallorca this morning after a sleep only interrupted by the noises of various night animals around the farm. This is the view from the end of the bed onto our terrace. Think I'll go get someone to fill that table with coffee and tasty things.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Finger Trap Area

Getting off the train I spotted the stencil on the side of the
wheelchair ramp. "Finger Trap Area". So... Is it warning or function

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Mmm. Generous with the fish too.