Archives for category: Golf

Yet again I’ve slipped into failing to blog.  I think the only way I’m really going to break this on and off scribbling is to signup to again and really get my writing muscle pumping.

The truth of it is that I’ve been distracted from my blogging duties. I made a bit of a stab at it a couple of weeks ago and then I foolishly went off on holiday to Spain on the weak and feeble premise of “playing golf with the lads”.  There was some playing of golf – and in point of fact I even managed to play at least one very very good game by beating everyone else – but as is the case with such things this was most likely a fluke brought about by the amount of alcohol consumed paired with the lack of sleep that the “good” players had.  I could blag it and say my game just improved dramatically – but we all know that would be a lie.  It was merely fortuitous timing.  All the same – I won – they lost!! Hahaha!

One of our number has laid some ground work towards becoming a minor celebrity. Actually, when I say minor that’s bigging him up quite a bit.  In short he’s been filming “Come Dine With Me” – and if you don’t know what that is, you’re both very lucky and missing out on some popular culture that won’t change your life, but might make you smile.

It turns out that the filming of this show carries on until the wee small hours after each evenings dinner, and leaves the participants pretty much dead on their feet.  In this individual’s case, he was the last one to host dinner and his night ran on until about 4am on the Saturday morning.  Ordinarily this wouldn’t have mattered a jot, except that we had to be leaving for the airport to fly to spain at – you guessed it – 4am.  He was late.  He was drunk (ish) and he was still wearing his tuxedo from dinner.  A cracking start to a crazy week.

Regardless – he made it – we all did, and by 11am on Saturday, 8 of us were ensconced in an 80’s styled villa in Puerto Banus ready for beer, food, golf and general shenanigans. Fun times.

I won’t bore you with it, but we bumped into Cilla Black, Stan Boardman and probably an unknown number of ex-Eastend blaggers and criminal underlings. We drank too much, slept too little and got sunburned and tired. Very relaxing.

I bought gifts for Mrs G and daughter – they wanted perfume – and very happy with the results they are.  So what you need after a week like that is a nice gentle start back in the office.  Not a bit of it…..  

A conversation with the badman on Sunday, meant that I had to load up the roller-skate and whizz off to a local starfleet office because things had “kicked off” on another piece of work – not the one we’ve been waiting for, but one I’d “helped out on” just before my holiday.  What I needed was a nice quite start to catch up on the email infestation – but instead it was “bloody hard work” followed by dinner with a bunch of people who didn’t really want dinner, but did want to be entertained.

The badman and I suffered it together – and I suppose it could have been much worse, but really no-one was in the the mood for a party – so there wasn’t one.

The rest of the week has limped along because of some poorly made assumptions elsewhere and because of the now infamous phrase “It Is What It Is”.  I am thoroughly sick to death of hearing it and saying it, so for future reference anytime it may be mentioned I shall simply say “IIWII” – which looks a bit like an appendix to World War 2 in shorthand, and now you come mention feels a bit like it too.

The weekend is just around the corner (for most of us) although it appears I may have to do some work during mine just so that we can be “ahead of the game” on Monday.  On this occasion I don’t really see the point of it, when our target seems to be way beyond our reach – but We Are Where We Are……  Arrrrrrrrrrrgggghh   WAWWA!!!!

….In other news….

Got my iOS5 upgrades everywhere they need to be – and I like them a lot. Great stuff – everything working smoothly and seemlessly. All-in-all very pleased with what they’ve done there.

We have an infesation of in-laws and out-laws this weekend. It’s my favourite brother-in-laws birthday and he and the rest of his family are around our neck of the woods to celebrate.  I’d hoped for some R&R after two hectic weeks, but then I don’t mind digging deep for some remaining energy reserves in this instance.

Afterall – IIWII and WAWWA…..

Barbara!!  Fetch me the shotgun!

CDWM_Spain_Intro.mp3 Listen on Posterous

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

That’s been the summer then – although looking out the window this morning, it’s not going anywhere in a hurry.  A proper Indian summer is with us in the UK but it’s a rubbish excuse for not blogging.  I have no-one to blame but myself. So what’s been going on ?….


Well – workwise, Pooh and I have got to the end of our run with the Big American company that needed Starfleet’s help.  We think we’ve helped and everyone (including the Big American company) seem to be quite happy with what we’ve done.  We haven’t really p!ssed anyone off and signatures are on the relevant pieces of paper to prove it.


Talking of signatures on paper – I’ve collected three in the last month that I’m particularly pleased about.  One is (to be fair a digital one) from my UK departmental lead, who agree’s that I’m a good guy really and anyone who said otherwise was wrong in the past – so actually I’m worth hanging on to.  That’s nice to know.


The second is from my UK bosses, bosses, boss which says thanks very much for your help, and the third one is from the overall commander of Starfleet (Mr very very important – and extremely influential – although not quite so well known as Steve Jobs) who says congratulations on being here still after 25 years!  25 YEARS!??!?!  REALLY!??


In reality – I haven’t been here for 25 years – although I have been here for 10 – and I find that scary enough.  The way employment law works in europe, means that should you transfer from one company to another as part of a take-over or outsourcing agreement, your service up until that point all counts as service with your new employer.  


I’ve had three interviews for jobs in my whole career – but only the first one was as an unknown. The other two were internal interviews. That’s how good I am. They all want to keep me really. 🙂 I’ve worked for five different companies in that time (so that’s an average of one every 5 years) and they’ve all been related to each other in one way or another.  Basically, it went like this: a take-over, a promotion, a promotion, a merger, an outsource which all adds up to 25 years.


I got a great pen. 🙂


Now – armed with my new pen – Pooh and I are all set to run off a new adventure, which is just around the corner.  We’re just fending off the remnants of the old one, but there’s really not a lot left now.  Who knows what delights await us – but I’m sure some of them won’t be too delightful.


Outside of the work-o-sphere, I’ve had a couple of weeks off (one of the other benefits of being around for so long, is that for this year only I get 35 days vacation – so I have to crowbar it in where I can).  


Me and Mrs G went down to Swanage for a week to stay in a lovely little cottage by the sea.  Swanage is a quaint old seaside town – rather stuck somewhere in the end of the 50’s and 60’s in places, while a few businesses are trying to drag it into the new century.  To be honest, I wish, they’d mostly leave it be.  The old pubs and fish and chip shops, hark back to a time when summer holidays meant sandcastles and fish and chips and not airplanes and overcrowded hotels. Proper english in a traditional way. Sticks of rock and “kiss me quick” hats – all that sort of stuff. Lovely.  


We had great weather for a week so late in the year and had a great time too.  I’d particularly recommend the Globe pub as one of the most traditional I’ve been into in a while.


Daughter also had a holiday – and jetted off with her mates to the Canary Islands for a week, only to come back with a georgous looking tan. Pah!


The second week was spent at home in the rain. Not quite so much fun, but I did get a few little jobs done that needed doing, including the reframing of a few photos that I’d been meaning to sort out for ages. Very happy with the result.


Then we’ve had a trip to the Rugby to see good old Gloucester kick it out of Bath. That was fun – if a little too much imbibing. 


My next big trip is only a week or so away now too.  This time it’s golf – with the lads in sunny Spain.  I’m sure Mrs G isn’t over the moon on one hand, because we’ve not been abroad for any proper sunshine this year, but on the other hand, she’ll be glad to have some space to herself for a week without me – and we are planning on doing something a bit more special in the new year.  Not decided exactly what yet – but it’s on the cards.


SO there we go – a bit caught up.  I don’t want this to be huge – so I’ll limit my tech news comment – which is vast – to another post.  If you’re interested I’ll be blathering about Facebook, Google+, the iPhone 5 (or lack thereof) and the Kindle Fire (and others). But that’s for the next post.


Glad to be back – stay safe – and keep calm and carry on.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Why am I doing this? Can someone remind me again please.

It was lovely to have had Friday off. The wedding went with but one hitch and that was the one that was supposed to happen so all is well on that front. It didn’t rain while we were outside, the kids that were present screamed in the appropriate parts of the service, the women all cried, the speeches were short (almost to the point of non-existent), the bridesmaids were gorgeous (not that I’m biased) and there was dad dancing. The dad dancing wasn’t from me due to the back strain, but ordinarily would have been.
In summary a very British wedding and not a sniff of royalty in sight.

Saturday was to have been Alleycats golf, but I very wisely rested instead, despite the peer pressure, and as a result the pain has eased. Although not fully recovered it’s well on it’s way and I have no doubt that as long as I’m careful this week it’ll be back (no pun intended – or existing) to normal very soon.
Keen to find out why Shep looks so miserable about the whole thing, especially as he has new golf clubs. 🙂

Sunday was all about birthday lunch with Mother-in-law. Always a pleasure, never a chore. General topic of discussion was what a terrible start to the year we’ve all been having. In truth it can only better, although on a couple of issues it most certainly will get worse. Personally I’m trying to stay away from hospitals, but that isn’t the case for some of the more frail members of the clan. Our thoughts are with them all.

Lunch was wonderful though. Rounded the day off with daughter and Mrs G on the sofa, a glass of red wine and dancing on ice. Not normally something I’d bother with, but they love it and it does have a smidgen of entertainment about it.

Now we have arrived at Monday morning. Back down to London for a 10am meeting. While 10am might seem like a leisurely start to the day (and when working from home it most certainly is) the logistics involved mean it’s actually quite a challenge.

Alarm goes off at 5.45 giving me 20 minutes to get up and out the door. 30 minutes to walk to the station and a massive 10 minutes spare to get coffee and settled before the 6.45 departure. Arrives at London Paddington at 8.45 and it then takes a further 40 minutes (if all goes to plan) to get into the city proper on the tube which leaves me 35 minutes to make the 10 minute walk to the office and into the 10am meeting. Perfect.

Today however, I’ve been sat on the train at the station since 6.55 as it was late arriving. It’s now 7.18 and we’re just pulling out of the station so my 25 minutes of spare time has gone before I’ve even started. Unless the time is made up en route I will be late. Awesome start to the week.

The long list of reasons start with the speedometer not working, the central door locking not working and then some unspecified engine problem which had to be attended to by engineers. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the journey. There’s also no hot food or sandwiches on board (as if I care!)

I also take the precaution of reserving a seat when I pre-book my ticket. I like to be forward facing at a table, just in case I fancy joining laptop club and preferably by the window. This is just for my comfort and is not essential. However, to really wind me up, why not accept the booking without comment and plonk me in an aisle seat, rear facing without a table…. Is it really that difficult ? I can see the table with no-one sat at it from here!

Ah well, at least I can feel self assured that we get value for money in rail travel in the UK. D’oh!!!

This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Those are after all the three main subjects of today’s meandering blathering. First up, backs. I’ve done mine in (to use the parlance of our times). I suspect it’s down to lugging my backpack on the trains to and from London for the last couple of weeks. It’s a sharp lower back pain that “twinges” when I bend in pretty much any direction.

Readings of various sources and discussions with experts of sorts have left me feeling that backs are something that aren’t very well understood. As a result I’m resting it by using it very lightly, if that makes any sense at all. In reality this means a little more standing than sitting (bizarrely) some gentle walking but absolutely most definitely no golf.

Particularly annoying at the Alleycats Golf Society’s quarterly is scheduled to take place on Saturday. I may attend for some light drinking in the evening, but let’s not count any chickens just yet.

Today is a bless-ed day off from the toils of Starfleet for me and from the rigors of lunatic drivers for Mrs G. Those of you that have been paying attention will understand that my motivation for all things Starfleet has been well and truly mashed to a pulp of late, so a proper day off will surely help me put everything back into perspective. More so, because this particular day off is to be filled with a wedding.

One of daughter’s friends has taken the “get pregnant and then married” start to her adult life and is tying the knot with her “old” man at the ripe old age of 21 and as a mother of two. I cannot judge, for I too married at that young age, although I should point out that neither I or my first wife were “with child”. I can only hope that they grow closer rather than further apart. We all live and learn.

Regardless, I have no doubt that today will be full of fun and frolics and an all round enjoyable day of celebration for everyone involved. Happily daughter is a bridesmaid and not a bride. She wants a life first she says – and good on her I say. I’ll be standing mostly.

Expect wedding photos later.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Hard to believe that it’s already been almost three months since our last Quarterly game of golf, but then it’s only just over a month since our last competition, the Smithy Open. Sadly, that competition’s namesake isn’t playing with us today, but he’s with us in spirit if not in body.

At one point it didn’t look like we’d be playing at all thanks to the non existent organisation skills of the group, especially given that we all have day jobs to do, which while they may not be as much fun as playing golf, they are what puts the bread on the table and keeps roofs over our respective heads.

Typically it runs like this: An early start where we all meet up at the selected golf course for coffee and bacon rolls and a bit of a catch up. Then the draw takes place to determine who’s playing with who. Tee off. I think today it,s around 11am and then 18 holes of golf which will take us up to about 3 or 4 pm depending on how well things go. Then there’s dinner at the clubhouse and prize giving (for those that won anything). Finally we all trot off home to freshen up ready for the court session and the evening on the town. It’s great fun but you never feel too good about it afterwards… Hangover’s mostly.

Weather isn’t looking too good for it either. Mrs G was cycling into the city to get her hair done, but hairdressing and cycling aren’t great bedfellows at the best of times let alone when it looks like it might rain. I think instead she’ll be walking and I also think that secretly she’s quite looking forward to having the house to herself for the day. She’ll be missing us all really.

Son is off to deepest darkest Wales for the weekend with his mountain bike. He spent last night sorting out his music collection and burning a couple of half decent CD’s because his friend he’s going with is into “hard trance dance music”. Son’s tastes are far more indy rock/pop. Some of their generation have good taste at least. I’m sure he’ll have a great time as long as he manages to stay on his bike rather than under it, as has been known in the past.

So a cold and damp day ahead in prospect. If the golf of late is anything to go by, it won’t be a particularly enjoyable one either. This evening’s entertainment will a whole other story, with the buffoonery dial turned right up to 11 no doubt.

I can only wish I was soaking up the Asian culture and heat with Daughter, but alas I will just have to try to survive without and look forward to a nice sedate Sunday lunch with Mr Ball Sr tomorrow.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Well that was a rather stuffed weekend.  Full to the brim of frippery, family, food, firewater, and frivolity.  Fun times and so it’s back to work with a bump.

Friday was the Smithy open and a lot of fun that is. We were very lucky with the weather. In fact this has been true all weekend. Not a raincloud in sight.  Very warm though. Close, as the old folks would say. All went off without a hitch, and although I didn’t win, it’s not about the winning or loosing… it’s about the winning. Well done Stanlar.

Our evening entertainment was an eclectic mix of establishments on the Bath road in Cheltenham, including The Exmouth Arms, The Brown Jug and the 5 Alls. Extremes, but all very enjoyable. Pleased to see the 6X of my home town on tap in the Brown Jug.  I’ve been in here plenty of times before, and always enjoyed it and it’s also good to see the 5 Alls having a lick of paint. All a bit of a blur, but generally a nice bunch of boozers. There’s more about that over on the WTC site though. ’nuff said.

Friday night was also the launch of the Cheltenham Literature Festival which this year, we’ve failed miserably to get properly involved with. What is does mean is that Cheltenham gets very busy and is a generally slightly more interesting place to be for the week. That’s not to say that it isn’t always interesting, it’s just this week (like any Cheltenham Festival week) is more so. The streets are littered with interesting characters, both well known and completely unidentifiable that make people watching an excellent pastime.

For example, on Friday we had Melvyn Bragg, Simon Hoggart, Mark Kermode & Andrew Marr.  Gutted that I missed Dr K of course, but would also have loved to have heard Andrew Marr after writing about him earlier in the year. I hear reports that he was having a go at bloggers. More on that here and here. Very entertaining stuff I’m sure.

On Saturday, as regular readers will be aware, it was Cheltenham’s attempt at a SuperSwarm that drew Mrs G, Daughter and I to “The Bank House” in the town, as well as a few other bits and pieces of shopping that needed to be done. It was interesting to finally put some actual faces to Twitter names that I’ve read about and followed. The likes of @AdrianEXG & @jonnop to name but two. It was a valiant effort and there was a decent buzz (all puns intended even if not achieved) about the place that made it look like there was a chance of achieving it. In fact, The Literature Festival itself drew a large enough crowd to aquire a spontaneous “Swarm” badge* (a group of 50) during the morning.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be. The crowd peaked at 120, and 250 is the target. Of course this is still something of a success. Even 120 people is no mean feat, but while the Literature Festival does bring a lot of people to Cheltenham, they may not necessarily be the people that are foursquare savvy. A more likely target – given the numbers of people involved would be Cheltenham races. Punters are twitterer’s because they’re looking for the inside line on the horses s this makes them a natural progression for Foursquare. Maybe the team will have a pop at the Festival in March ??. There’s racing on Friday/Saturday too but more on that later in the week.

Saturday’s LitFest names included Sebastian Faulks, Alastair Campbell & Darling (although not together) & “the Dark Lord”, Peter Madelson. Also ran… Armstrong & Miller and Derren Brown. Needless to say we hadn’t arranged tickets for any of these shows this year and that truly is a travesty. Sunday had Stephen Hawking, Clive Anderson, Graham Norton, Germain Greer, Martin Jarvis and so the list goes on and on and on…Of the approximately 200 well known faces to appear this year, the worst one to miss of the lot is next Friday. 12-1pm Mr Stephen Fry. He is the king of twitter and a national treasure.

Next year, Mrs G and I will be having a week off and planning it properly.

After the people-watching and book browsing of the day, the early evening saw the arrival of the Scottish contingent who are staying with us until Tuesday. This is Mrs G’s sister & D along with the three little ones, A, W & F.

Good company, good food & good wine made for a most enjoyable evening and onwards into the wee small hours of Sunday morning. Daughter & Son where out with friends but bother were tucked up asleep by the time the rest of the house arose by 9am. Sunday meant a roast dinner in the pub with Grandparents. More excellent socialising and the early evening led to kids hot-tubbing which had meant a bit of work for me to prep it having not used it for the last couple of months. Auntie S brought the cousins (E&E) round as well, so the house was fit to burst with kids and adults all having a great time and bemoaning the quality of the X-Factor among other things. All provoking much giggling, pointing and oooo-ing and ahhh-ing. Fun times.

Finally exhausted, all retired for the evening, save myself and D who with a night-cap in hand enjoyed a run of The Big Lebowski before admitting defeat and turning in for the night. Try as I might, time & tide waits for no man and with the inevitability of the sun rising, so the working week begins and all I can do is get on with it whilst wishing for the new year and the start of the new job. L&D & Kids are off to Slimbridge with Grandparents while the rest of us work for a living. They’ll be back this evening for one last night of socialising before heading off to the south coast for the week.

Hey ho – back to it.

* If you want to know more about all of the Foursquare badges – details can be seen here:

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

The weekend is almost upon us and it’s a jam packed one this week. In fact it’s sooo busy that I’ve had to take an extra day off on Friday just to try and cram it all in.  The rabbits will go unfed as I won’t be in the warren, so if you’re passing please drop off a carrot, or some cabbage. (More on that in a bit). There’s also been another tranche of geekery announced, some of which I have an opinion on, so I’ll get to that but in the next post…   over lunch….

First of all, let’s see what’s in store…  Friday and there’s a game of golf in the shape of the “Smithy Open”. Unfortunately it clashes with a charity game of golf that Mr Ball Senior is involved with in Wiltshire. I normally attend with him so we have some giggles, a pint, play some poor golf and help raise some cash for Lukemia. Even I can’t be everywhere at once, so this year the Smithy open wins it. I’ll still make a donation though. 

On the subject of donations, a good friend of mine is doing his bit for charity next week by sleeping out on the cold streets of London as part of Byte Night 2010 ( Each year hundreds of individuals and teams from across the IT and business community spend a night exposed to the worst of the British weather to raise both sponsorship and awareness of “Action for Children” and their work, so please feel free to show your support here: if you feel like it.

Mrs G and I are paying host to the Scottish contingent this weekend, which will be a delight. They’re stopping in for a day or two on their way south, so there’s bound to be plenty of entertainment surrounding their visit. If they arrive in time, they might even get to Swarm….

Saturday means I’ll have a quick trip into Chelter’s to join up with the SuperSwarmUK effort and win a rare Foursquare badge, as well as sample some bargain priced food and beverages at the Bank House. 1PM to 4PM if you’re in that neck of the woods ….,-2.075603&sspn=0.001347,0.002881&ie=UTF8&hnear=Cheltenham,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.90123,-2.075601&spn=0.001728,0.003412&t=h&output=embed
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(Clarence Street, in what used to be called Que Pasa) 

…. and would like to be involved in something rare and unusual ….

You just need a method for checking into foursquare.  Read all about it here or here.

Sunday is that magical date, The 10th of the 10th, 2010… and as a result there is a very clever little project running, called “One Day On Earth”. They want some help documenting the world’s story for just one day and they state their objective as:

To create an open shareable archive and documentary film of the world on 10/10/10. We hope to enlighten, teach and benefit humanity through global collaboration and inspired media creation. We seek to find a deeper understanding of life on this planet.

Interesting idea. It’s also a stepping stone to supporting a cause. You’ll see stuff about it at this hash tag on twitter: #101010 or buy visiting their website: Definetly worth a look.

Monday will be, straight back at it. Nose to the grind stone, etc etc…. but with a slightly refreshed outlook. I’m officially starting a new job, although sadly not for 3 months due to contractual issues that I’m not over the moon about, but I have to live with. Fun times when all is said and done. I just hope I can remain motivated until Christmas.  Should be fine as long as I avoid the X-Factor.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

“Enough whinging and moaning.  Time to get off me harris and do something about it!!” , is what I said last week to myself during a particularly strong bout of taking myself to one side and having a serious word in my shell-like. There was some whirring and clicking and things sort of fell into place which led me to finding this path that I now find myself upon and I’m trudging forward along it to see where it takes me.

As employees within Starfleet we are very lucky to be able to move around to differing roles within the business without too much risk to your career in the longer term. Of course it’s never quite as straight forward as that, but in theory it’s pretty simple.  The long and the short of this means that sometime in the next 3 months I will probably be doing something different. But I won’t hold my breath just yet.

OK – that’s enough work talk – Let’s see what else is going on…

Scobi’s looking for some guidance for his Home Theatre setup and managing his media, so I figured I’d share a short write up on the way I’ve been doing it for the past few years. Any questions, drop me a note or post a comment.

What’s the goal? To begin with, the goals were simple:

  • Listen to different music in different rooms
  • Watch different movies in different rooms
  • Watch family photo albums on a big screen

Back in the day when I was a believer of Microsoft, before I moved to the Mac world, the answer for me was Microsoft XP Media Center Edition (MCE). I had a smallish tower PC with a TV card in it that would capture my analogue signal. The MCE front end with associated remote was a nice way to watch, pause and rewind live TV as well as being able to watch DVD’s (via the DVD ROM), my own videos from the HDD, listen to MP3 music, and view photos. This after all is what you want your media center to do.

However, back then, the support was patchy, drivers and codecs were a headache and believe me there is nothing quite like a “General Protection Fault” or the “Blue Screen Of Death” during the recording of Coronation Street if you really want to feel the wrath of a woman scorned. On top of this, although it was possible to get it running with Sky, satellite TV could only be view via the analogue port due to tuner constraints meaning is was out of step with HD TV by the time that arrived on our shores.

It was these problems that led me away from the Microsoft solution and into the world of Apple TV. A shame, because there were two killer features, that I haven’t been able to replace as yet which I’ll come to in a moment.

This is the current setup.  

Sky+HD for the main TV in the living room. This takes care of the Corrie recording issue and allows for some decent HD content. There’s also a PS3 to provide Blue Ray content. 

The media Library sits across 2 Terabyte hard drives (1 Internal and 1 external) on the back of an iMac running iTunes – tucked away in the office. This is the core of the network and stores all of the data. Media that arrives at home get’s converted (the geeky phrase is “ripped”) to a suitable digital format and imported into an iTunes library. This is then available to Apple TV which sits silently and unobtrusively in the living room connected to the WiFi Network.

All of this is rigged to a wall mounted HD LCD and Dolby 5.1 Surround system which the Apple TV supports nicely.

Other rooms in the house have TV’s with iPod/iPhone connectors or the iPod/iPhone Composite AV Cable attached to them. This means that it’s possible to stream movies or music from the iMac to a remote iPod/iPhone (should point out we’re talking about “iPod touch” in this context, which has WiFi connectivity) and use a TV or other docking station for output. Furthermore if you want to move from room to room, well that just works because you’re on the WiFi Network and you can even sit outside with it if the mood takes you and the turbulent weather has subsided. The key to it all, is having the library central and available on the Network – it’s that simple.

This all works like a dream at the moment, but I have concerns. The downsides (which are only slight) are thus:

  • No true (1080p) Hi-Def support in the Library (Apple TV does 720, but my source is only as good as DVD)
  • No Skype in the living room
  • No Social media in the living room
  • Live TV still provided via Sky

Now, I can hear you saying the HD support is a bit of a bind, but not a problem. Skype & Social Media in the living room!!?@!?  What are you on Golfy?

Well, I’m not just running a Home theatre here, this is cutting edge stuff. In the Old MCE world, I have a small camera mounted above the TV and Video Sky calls could be neatly integrated because the whole thing was running on XP. I also had a wireless keyboard and could use MS Messenger for chat while watching the TV.  

In the future we’ll have something to fix that, be it Google TV, or Apple TV with Apps on it (which I think is highly likely), or something else altogether. But the key piece of technology there is the Internet, and so Internet connectivity to your TV in your living room (at least!) is a must have for future-proofing (or at least attempting to).  There are TV’s out today with some Internet connectivity already, but this is the new frontier for living room dominance and not (I repeat NOT) 3D-TV. But that’s another story.

Any other stuff to get off my chest?

X-Factor!  Seriously, What the feck is going on there ??  I’m done with it now that it’s been clearly shown up as an advertising campaign thinly disguised as a telent show. Just in case you were wondering where my logic comes from. It’s really down to last nights show that selects the final 12. The first seven minutes of this contained nothing but the previous days show. And when I say nothing I mean nothing save one very short voice over to say this would be when we find out who the final 12 are. Other than that it was Saturday nights show in 7 minutes. And this is what really galls me – they then went into an ad break!!!  7 minutes of old TV and an ad break! I’m sorry but you lost me right there.  

As I’m sure you’ve heard me say before it’s car crash TV (meaning you don’t want to look but you can’t take your eyes off it) so I allowed my rubber necking to continue to see who had actually been selected. In short, the judges decisions were simply appalling. And the most blatant of these is the selection of Katie Waissal who it transpires, already had a recording contract which Mr Cowell bought her out of just prior to the start of the series…. Goodnight X-Factor. Info here:

And finally, finally….  What a game of Golf that was!!!  Damn close in the end even after all that.  Without doubt the Ryder Cup is my favourite competition in the golfing world.  Europe v’s America is just great fun. Well done all involved and of course Graeme MacDowell for finishing it off.

Ta ra.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

After the constant down pouring of yesterday, it’s particularly pleasant to wake up to glorious sunshine this morning. But it is all a bit on and off isn’t it? Fear not though, for I am not Henry the 2nd and I’m not looking for a bunch of knights to murder anyone by the name of Becket.

On the subject of outlaws, tomorrow we’ll be having both the in-laws and out-laws to lunch (not for lunch) and so today will involve some preparation for such a feast. The plan was to cycle to the various vegetable selling locations and purveyors of meat to acquire the necessary accoutrements, but we do have a slight logistical problem vis a vis the bikes.

In her infinite wisdom, daughter chose to cycle to work on Mrs G’s bike on Wednesday. Since she arrived we’ve had constant rain and so she chose to get a lift home instead of cycle. Mrs G’s bike is still there locked in a back room. Daughter is fast asleep having been on night duty so we’re a one bike family for now. As you can see, the plan has gone awry. Not that it’s too disastrous. Instead, Mrs G and I will drive (I know – shameful) on our quest for fresh vegetables & chicken – for that is what it will be.

Other snippets of note ….

S, Z, J & C are popping round for a cuppa this afternoon. Will be nice for Mrs G to meet C, their latest addition and always good to catch up with them. S has reminded me of my quest to see “Outlaw” (2007). A truly awful Danny Dyer film (and anyone who knows anything about film will know what a Danny dyer film is). However, It does have some must see footage for me as it was largely filmed in and around Gloucester and Cheltenham. This is the only reason I want to watch it. I am still expecting it to be “bl**dy rubbish” – This is a well thought out and considered review based on what I know of it so far. I will write something more eloquent once I’ve watched it.

Very much enjoying “Sleepy Head” (see: here and here for more on that story) and plan to have both that and “Scaredy Cat” finished off by October the 10th.

Also enjoying the Ryder Cup which is taking place just down the road at Celtic Manor. With tickets at £200 a pop, I won’t be there, which is a shame as it’s so close, it would have been enjoyable, but not this time.

Mrs G will be watching the X-Factor tonight and as hard as I try not to, it’s still very much car crash TV. Still, there is something wildly enjoyable about watching it with Twitter running at the same time. That is the future of Television and Social Networking.  If Google TV gets that working properly they will clean up.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

If I was on their prod-dev team I’d be insisting on a fully manageable HD desktop environment with all the iGoogle Widgets…. including weather of course – so at least then I’d have half a clue as to how turbulent it’s likely to be before I go calling any knights in to sort-it-aaat (as Danny D would say).

Ta ra for now.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Yesterday’s golf was miserable. Not because of company, location, price or weather, but because I played one of my worst games in over a year. Simply horrible. Mrs G went to see T in the evening, Son was watching ‘the match’ at his mate’s house and daughter was at work, so by way of consolation S was up for a cheeky Tuesday beer in the local. This involved a good cycle ride (that’s every day so far) and four pints of wallop. 

What’s really annoying is the price of a pint has gone up 5p to £2.55. When it was £2.50 a fiver was your friend (When it was £1 a fiver could kill you! -Ed) but now you have to have a pile of 10p pieces or at least a tenner in your pocket just to be sociable!! Grr. Thank god for debit cards.

And on that subject, here’s QI for today if you haven’t seen it already.  Do you remember (or did you ever hear about) back in 1995 how there was a trial of a cashless system in the UK, centred around Swindon ??  Mondex was it’s name and replacing cash with cards was it’s aim. Sadly… it failed miserably. It was a very enthusiastic effort on the part of the then Midland Bank, National Westminster and British Telecom. At it’s peak and in even the busiest locations it managed a mere 2% of transactions. A valiant effort, but doomed to failure. Mostly because it was based on something that not everyone had. So you couldn’t take your Mondex card to London and buy anything for instance….  pretty pointless really. 

Before we get too carried away, it’s worth pointing out that Mondex didn’t just pack up and go home… nosiree. Instead they became the butt of one of the best Internet wide hoaxes back in 2004 when someone started the story that:

Mondex is planning to replace money with biochips embedded in people’s heads and hands.

This was accompanied by a picture of an RFID chip just to make it all that much more believable and terrifying.  Of course, none of that is true…

Well, that was all back then…  this is 2010… and jet packs and flying cars aside, we’re up to all sorts of incredible technological shenanigans*. Some bright spark who came up with Twitter, has now gone a step further and developed “SQUARE”. You’ll love this…   Square is an App for your phone which allows you to take payments from credit or debit cards via your handset.  That’s it.  Nothing more complicated.  Simple.  

Almost everyone has a credit or debit card (those that don’t can still pay with cash by the way – it’s just that involves them physically handing you some cash, notes or coins… just in case you’d forgotten) and payments with cards are almost as ubiquitous as payments with cash nowadays.

You can even get a card reader that plugs into the headphone socket of your phone to read the magnetic strip….

Awesome!!  So, where’s the catch ???

Well, I hate to say there is one, but there is.  You can’t have it if you live outside of the US.  Now, I think there might be a few very good reasons for this, not least of which is that in the UK we’ve gone all “chip and pin” and that’s not something that’s really happened stateside yet. In the UK magnetic strips are seen as vulnerable with readers (and writers) being common place tech.

Futhermore there’s been a significant amount of investment by the banks and financial instituions in the Chip and Pin system. It’s not going away in a hurry meaning getting square off the ground outside of the US could be a car crash.

Square’s official line on it is this:
We are currently only available in the 50 US States, including DC. We are beginning to look into other markets, but at this time cannot support non-US entities. There is no specific timeline for our international rollout, but you have not been forgotten.

Keep your eyes on for more information about our plans and development. We thank you for your patience.</blockquote>

In the meantime, if you’d like to know more, then this is the place to go see:

Mrs G and I are off to spend cash, not Mondex on something nice by the sea. More on this tomorrow.

* It’s a good word “Shenanigans”, meaning mischief; prankishness, deceit or trickery. But… after a little bit of digging, I think I prefer this definition:

The name of a game played 24/7/365 by people who know of its existence. The game is played by first saying “Shenanigans”, then, the person who said it is allowed to hit or otherwise hurt anyone within earshot of them at the time that they said it. The main target tends to be the groin on males and the chest on females. People who are within earshot when “Shenanigans” is said must say the word “Mulligan” 
as soon as they hear it to prevent being a target. If someone is hit either before or while you are saying the word “Shenanigans” or after they have said “Mulligan”, you are considered to have cheated and they get a free hit on you. Note that saying “Shenanigans” lasts indefinately until each person within earshot has said “Mulligan”
Bob: “SHENANIGANS!” *smacks Tom in the groin* 


*Bob hits Tom in the groin* 
Tom: oooh, that’s a free hit! *smacks Bob in the groin without penalty.*

This post originally appeared here: Posterous