Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Baillieston's Christmas Tree

As the rest of the country seems to be retracting Christmas Decorations in favour of "Holiday" Decorations. Baillieston has made a bold step forward by erecting a Christmas Tree!!

Dressed with some simple outdoor lights, it is situated on Baillieston's Main Street opposite the Lidl store and sits safely behind a couple of barriers hotwired to the local "No Entry" sign.

Begs the question: Is the no entry sign wonky or the tree??

Candy Floss!



We received a Candy Floss maker as one of our Wedding Presents from my Mum and Dad. I never thought it would be so much fun making candy floss!! Definitely a cool party trick.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Kaster Gig @ Cathouse Glasgow



Went to see Kaster at the Cathouse tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. Interesting to have my hand stamped to buy alcohol - the Security guy was laughing because a big guy like me couldn't get served... One hand stamp later, problem solved!

Anyways - Keep a lookout for this band, they're sounding better everytime I hear them! I've linked to their site and the night was promoted by Kingsonic where I found the poster on the left.

Keep up the good work guys!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

So we'll foot the bill then.

It would seem that Scotland hosting the G8 Summit cost the people earning in Scotland £52million which works out at about £10 per person.

Tony Blair decided to host the G8 Summit at Gleneagles because of it's secluded location. However the policing operation has cost Scotland £72m - only £20m of that is to be met by the UK treasury - the Scottish Executive (funded by the Scottish tax payers and residents) has to meet the rest - note the Scottish Executive doesn't receive income from the North Sea oil rigs. The treasury's £20m will cost the UK population (pop. 60m) only 33p each (including those in Scotland).

How can it be possibly fair for the Tony Blair to make a decision affecting the whole of the UK (and G8 members) which costs those living and earning in Scotland (pop. 5m) £10.33 each and those in other areas of the UK only 33p!!! I'm fairly certain that if the G8 summit were to be held in England, the treasury would have met all the costs.

Yet another ridiculous way this Labour government have managed to stealth tax us.

Friday, December 09, 2005

iPhoto and Flickr!

I like to keep all my photos backed up and available locally, but after using Flickr! for a few months now - I'm actually finding myself using Flickr! to view my photographs rather than iPhoto. This has the benefit of viewing my photographs on any computer.

I am a bit of a fanatic for keeping things organised and I find the tag system used in Flickr! and keywords in iPhoto a great way of acheiving this. Each photo I have is tagged by location, subject, names of those in it, context (i.e. holidayJul2005) and time of day or something similar (i.e. night). I'm not really keen on uploading my photos directly to Flickr! and then tag them, so I use iPhoto to do this combined with some special tags and what I have called action smart folders.

First of all, every photo in my iPhoto collection is tagged, this is made easier with the utility Keyword Assistant which gives a dialog box which allows you to simply enter tags - it will autocomplete and autoadd depending if the tag exists or not. Each photo is then organised into smart folders. The smart folders are based on keywords - for example photos tagged "barry" or photos tagged "holidayJul2005". Some images may be in more than one smart folder, but that doesn't matter as there is only 1 image and 1 set of tags for that image. None of my images are in any folder or album - they are all in smart folders.

I manually go through each smart folder and ensure every image has the keyword IMAGEPROCESSED, this way I can create an action smart album called @UNFILED which contains all photos without the IMAGEPROCESSED tag. After importing a new batch of images, all the images will be in this smart folder (and probably not in any others). Using Keyword Assistant I can go through and tag all the photos appropriately and then manually add IMAGEPROCESSED to all photos in smart albums. This should leave @UNFILED empty unless I've tagged a photo in such a way it doesn't fit in with my current smart albums - I'll normally create one in these instances, for example I had some pictures taken in Glasgow which didn't fit anywhere so I created a new smart folder called "Glasgow" and these unfiled photos, along with all other photos tagged "Glasgow" appeared in this smart album.

The next step is ensuring all these photos get uploaded to Flickr! correctly and in an organised way. I don't like showing members of my family or my friends public on Flickr! as I don't see any reason why people should be looking at these photos - they're available, you just need to be one of my Flickr! friends or family to view them. I have a couple of Flickr! specific tags, OnFlickr, FlickrFamily, FlickrFriends, FlickrPrivate. Then I have some action smart albums:

  • UPLOAD PUBLIC
  • UPLOAD FRIENDS ONLY
  • UPLOAD FAMILY ONLY
  • UPLOAD FAMILY FRIENDS
  • UPLOAD PRIVATE
Upload public is all photos not tagged FlickrFriends, FlickrFamily, FlickrPrivate, OnFlickr
Upload Friends only is all photos not tagged OnFlickr, FlickrFamily, FlickrPrivate, but tagged FlickrFriends
Upload Family only is all photos not tagged OnFlickr, FlickrFriends, FlickrPrivate, but tagged FlickrFamily
Upload Family Friends is all photos not tagged OnFlickr, FlickrPrivate, but tagged FlickrFamily and FlickrFriends
Upload Private is all photos not tagged OnFlickr, FlickrFriends, FlickrFamily, but tagged FlickrPrivate

I can then use FlickrExport to upload all photos in each of the above action upload folders in an organised manner setting FlickrExport to export accordingly. Once FlickrExport has completed I usually tag the photos I uploaded with OnFlickr and then use the following smart albums to double check Flickr!

  • ONFLICKR PUBLIC (OnFlickr, not FlickrFamily, not FlickrFriends, not FlickrPrivate)
  • ONFLICKR FRIENDS (OnFlickr, not FlickrFamily, FlickrFriends, not FlickrPrivate)
  • ONFLICKR FAMILY (OnFlickr, FlickrFamily, not FlickrFriends, not FlickrPrivate)
  • ONFLICKR PRIVATE (OnFlickr, not FlickrFamily, not FlickrFriends, FlickrPrivate)
I can select more than one smart folder and compare with Flickr! and ensure the total photos match.

Next on the agenda is to get FlickrExport to automatically tag the photographs once it has been uploaded successfully to Flickr!

Took me some time to sort this out, but the mechanism is easy enough once implemented and makes it so much easier to see what's on Flickr! and what isn't. Also iPhoto is a much easier tagging interface than Flickr! once the Keyword Assistant has been installed.

Hope you've found this blog posting helpful!

Yahoo! Buys del.icio.us!

I personally thought google would buy del.icio.us and have a new "bookmark" search facility available which searches - not just people's bookmarks, but the contents of those pages according to google's cache. Since, I've increasingly found more accurate searches with del.icio.us than google... Hopefully Yahoo! will do something similar.

So that's Flickr! and del.icio.us under the Yahoo! brandname - and I don't even have a Yahoo! account!

Originally from boing boing's post.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Deflexion



This looks like a really cool board game. It's called Deflexion and you can move each piece one place at a time, or rotate each piece a quarter of a turn. At the end of each go each player must fire their laser - any non mirrored piece the laser hits must be removed. The game ends when the Pharoah is defeated!

Mail.app and Imap

TUAW have a posting about replacement email clients for Mail.App as they are having problems with it for high volume IMAP based email. In response, I found a while back that mail.app was choking a little on the size of my imap mailboxes. This is the solution I went for:

  1. I created two folders - "Archive" for all personal mail and "Work" for all work mail. I get far more mail from work than personal so work is actually a folder containing lot's of smaller mailboxes
  2. Every three months the "current" work folder is renamed for the time of year (e.g. Oct05-Dec05) and a new "current" folder is created.
  3. I have a smart folder in mail.app for All work email which basically groups together all of the smaller work folders - this smart folder currently contains about 9000 emails.
  4. In addition I have a "last week" smart folder which shows all the mail in "All Work" which was received in the last 7 days.
  5. I have a "last fortnight" smart folder which shows all the mail in "Archive"
  6. In conjunction with MailTags and Mail Act-On I can press two keys to archive mail into the correct work or personal real folder on my IMAP server - Mail.App will still see the email in the smart folders.
Using this mechanism I tend to use only virtual folders to browse and search for all of my email. I very, very rarely go into the actual IMAP folders. My INBOX is also kept empty most of the time.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Virgin Spot the Bands


virgindigital1280x960
Originally uploaded by barry_williams.
Nice competition by Virgin to spot all the bands in this poster! I can't get very many, but I've heard there is 72 (possibly more) in the picture!

Good Luck finding them!!

I've linked to another blog where I found the picture - and I've copied it into my Flickr! set.

Here's the Virgin Digital site which the advert is hosted on, and here's the original large jpg of the poster.

Update: Another blog about this is located here.

Secret Santa

This is an interesting idea. You have an Amazon wishlist and sign up using the provided link. On December 10th everyone gets to know their secret santa and buys a gift (maximum £10) for that person.

Kirkintilloch


Anal Capital of Scotland
Originally uploaded by BlackenedSkies.
Jim and I spotted this sign on the way back from dropping the dogs off at the Kennels there (they're a 2 minute drive from this sign).

I was going to go back and take a photo of it - but BlackenedSkies has beat me to it!!

Visited Countries

I've found quite a nice site which displays a map of the world and colours red the countries you have visited based on a dynamic query. The site is linked below.

My visit of the world is somewhat small, but I hope to improve on that!!

Greenlanes



Whilst I had my Suzuki in England I took advantage of some of the local greenlaning on offer in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. Any lanes I drove down I took note of and have listed them here with a description of the lane and a scoring. If you enjoy any of the lanes don't forget to drop me an email and tell me what you thought!

Aldwincle (BOAT) [TL000833][SP988809]


Takes about 20 minutes to complete, can get very muddy and narrow. I thoroughly enjoyed this road!!
jeepjeepjeepjeepjeepjeep

Clay Dick Track (Roman Road) (WL) [SP717972] [SP742948]

Very Good, features a ford and a surreal crossroad with another green lane complete with signpost, not suitable when wet. Be careful of deep ruts.
jeepjeepjeepjeepjeep

Faxton (BOAT) [SP772757] [SP793753]

Enjoyed this one, both rivers have been bridged. Not particularly muddy or rutted. Took about 20 minutes. Make sure you follow the OS map carefully after the second field before Faxton. Go left, otherwise you end up on a private drive - Need to go around trees and through field.
jeepjeepjeepjeep

Chestnuts Farm (UCR) [SP783996] [SP804984]

Easy road, not well marked. Follow path past triangulation point and through farm. I have checked with the council and they have told me I may drive on this.
jeepjeepjeep

Thorpe Langton (UCR) [SP743930] [SP737947]

Starts off at a river - don't do this after floods, can get very deep! Finishes at a road, go straight over to go onto another (Stonton Wyville).
jeepjeepjeep

Stonton Wyville (UCR) [SP736955]

Pretty easy, no grass, but meets up at the crossroads of Clay Dick Track!
jeepjeep

Hallaton Wood (BOAT) [SP763976] [SP765983]

Well marked, fairly easy.
jeepjeep

Horninghold (BOAT) [SP804984] [SP805977]

Not marked on OS map but is OK! Easy, marked by yellow posts with red arrows.
jeepjeep

Slawston Hill (WL) [SP785938] [SP791950]

Very bumpy shortcut. Nothing Serious.
jeep

Draughton Disused Airfield (BOAT) [SP766793] [SP776788]

Pretty boring, 5 minutes to complete, fairly flat - The old service perimeter of a disused airfield.

Moved to Blogger

I've moved from RapidWeaver to Blogger and (painfully) exported all my existing blog entries over. RapidWeaver is a great application - but it isn't very useful if you use more than one computer, or you want to post an entry away from your computer!

I've moved updated and moved my "About Me" page which is linked on the site. The other sites have been added either as Flickr! sets and linked to by slideshow or as blog entries and linked directly.

All been updated and is now back on bjw.me.uk again!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

About Me



I was born in Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1980. Shortly afterwards my Parents moved to West Germany where I grew up in Soest and Detmold with short visits to Middle Wallop and Andover in Hampshire. 1994 was the year we moved to Wattisham, Suffolk for 2 years, afterwards moving to Shrewsbury, Shropshire for 2 years, Market Harborough, Leicestershire for another 2 and finally East Carlton in Northamptonshire.

I was taught at the Duke of York's Royal Military School in Dover, Kent where I obtained my GCSEs and A Levels. I took an interest in Artwork - specifically acrylic landscapes. I took part in the CCF here where I obtained the rank of acting Flight Sergeant for the RAF section of the CCF.

After the Duke of York's I read Computing Science at the University of Glasgow for 4 years graduating with a 2:1 honours degree in July 2002. Shortly after I leased a flat in the west end and started working for a company called Virtual-Mirrors Ltd. where I am currently working on a digital clothing project. In August 2003 I purchased a flat in Baillieston.

In September 2003 I got engaged to Louise and in November 2004 I moved into Louise’s house in Baillieston. After my flat was sold we purchased a holiday townhouse in the "White Village" of Olvera in Andalucia, Spain. We married in December 2005 at the Sherbrooke Castle Hotel in Glasgow.

I have interests in Painting, Computing, Photography and Offroading. I've had a digital camera for a couple of years and have increasingly got more interested in taking nice pictures with it. A few months ago I splashed out and bought myself a shiny new Digital SLR and have been taking time to get used to it - still pretty rubbish at photography but I'm working on it!!

I do enjoy taking my Suzuki SJ 413 offroading with the West of Scotland All Terrain Club. The car is quite capable of (more so than me anyway) some serious offroad use, now kitted out with chunky muds it drives like a charm - I've even recovered a few Landrover Defenders with it!

Mr and Mrs Williams

Louise and I are now married! The day went in too fast for me to remember much other than getting a hard time from my Best Man's Speech!!

The video will be ready soon and so will the photographs so we will thankfully be able to see what really happened!

Thanks to everyone - Louise and I had a great time and I think everyone else did too!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

4,8,15,16,23,42



Whilst browsing the web I discovered a couple of theories about the numbers in the TV Show Lost.

My favourite is using them as a GPS grid reference - I've put them in Google Maps and if you zoom in you can see a small island just off to one side... This would seem to be more than a coincidence!

Another interesting theory is the seat numbers the lead passengers were in - I think Ana-Lucia for example was in 42. Jack in row 23, although Locke was in 24, Shannon and Boone were in 9 so it doesn't hold entirely.

Check out Oceanic Airlines seating chart for more details!

4 matches alphabetically for D, 8 for H and you can use some maths for ARMA (or DHARMA).

The DHARMA INITIATIVE website has some more interesting theories.

Abusive Online Retailer

Someone in America seems to have had an appalling dispute with an online retailer (PriceRitePhoto.com) over a camera. The retailer has now been reported to the New York Attorney's office and de-listed from Yahoo! Shopping and PriceGrabber over it's fraudulent and illegal dealings!

"I will make sure you never place an order on the internet again" and "I'm going to call your local police and have two officers come over and arrest you" are just some of the highlights - essentially because he refused an extended warranty and memory card!!

Link

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Head and Shoulders




This is probably the most annoying catchy tune I have heard recently...

It's a flash animation of U2 singing "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes". It's not actually Bono singing, but the thing is very convincing! It turns out, the original makers (mothergooserocks.com) provide all sorts of children's songs in the style of today's pop artists. Some of them are quite good - but I think this one's the best. Watch carefully and you'll see George Bush acting like an uncoordinated moron!!

Link (Direct Flash Link)

More Stag Night Photos



More photo's have been posted by Colin Anderson on his Fotopics online photo album. This requires a password - contact me and I'll let you know what it is.

Just to recap:

My photo's are on Flickr! (You need to become a flickr member and one of my contacts to view)
Tim's are also on Flickr!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Snow is Here

The snow arrived today at about 9am. Out of the three weather forecasts I use weather.com got it correct. It's 12 now and the snow has turned to that lovely Glasgow rain and washed all the wintery white away.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Travel Vaccination Advice

Having just received prescriptions for Louise and my vaccinations we are left in a ridiculous state of affairs caused by Baillieston Health Centre (MacGlone Practice). When Louise and I first obtained forms for holiday vaccinations we were presented with phone numbers for MASTA which suggested we contacted them to find out what injections we need. After paying up a couple of pound to get a (quite useful) health brief, I found out that in fact we didn't need to do that anyway. I handed the forms in on Monday 14th November expecting a reasonable turnaround. I asked to book appointments but was denied, with the explanation "We'll see if you need a prescription first", they asked me to contact them again the following Tuesday - whilst slightly surprised at the long delay I duly acknowledged and called back when asked.

On Tuesday 22nd I called the practice to be told THEY HADN'T EVEN LOOKED AT MY FORM YET and was told to phone back the next day. Wednesday 23rd I called and was informed I had two prescriptions to pick up and I could book an appointment with the nurse for myself in the morning, but Louise couldn't get an appointment which suited her. Their practice nurse is taking in patients from THE OTHER PRACTICE because their nurse is off sick. Result: MacGlone patients lose out.

To put salt in the wounds the receptionist I spoke to said that Louise may be able to get the injections at a MASTA clinic and copied down the numbers for me (on the prescription slip). I then went around and paid for the prescriptions and called the MASTA clinic - they explained to me that they are a private clinic and due to insurance reasons they cannot take in prescriptions. I can see MASTAs point here and the lady I spoke to was in the Glasgow Clinic and was extremely helpful. When I called the Baillieston practice back - they backtracked and said it was a miscommunication and that they knew that all along. THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN A LOT CLEARER AND NOT PLACE THE PHONE NUMBER ON THE PRESCRIPTION.

The only appointments they can offer Louise is within a week of us leaving and another which Louise cannot make. When asked if a Doctor could administer the injection, I was told, only the nurse can do that, because the Doctor's haven't been on the correct training course. The practice explained to me that I should have handed the forms in 6 to 7 weeks beforehand - which I did! But, as far as the practice is concerned "We've offered two appointments, so we've done our part - it isn't entirely our fault". Ah, so it's mine then...

The Nurse telephoned me later and explained what happened - the MacGlone practice nurse was on holiday all last week, the other Nurse went sick from Wednesday so my forms weren't processed until this Tuesday. Clearly my life is put on hold whilst someone is on holiday! I was spoken to like I was stupid by the nurse and I felt quite aggravated that a professional should speak to me in a condescending manner to another adult. When asked if I could get an appointment when the other nurse is well again I was informed that there are no appointments available. I presumed that when the other nurse comes back, the MacGlone practice nurse would have a more relaxed workload and be able to squeeze in additional patients - clearly untrue.

All I can hope is that somebody reads this and changes their mind about visiting their GP for a vaccination. Do yourselves a favour and go to a MASTA clinic. I didn't ask what the prices were - but they were a damn site more helpful than the NHS.

(Venista) Not the only one...

Just found an article on the web from that reliable and resourceful sunday paper, The Sunday Mail. Around the same time I got conned by Venista, some other teenager was conned with some dating services. They got a bigger cheque than me, I must've nipped it right in the bud... I've attached the link below.

See my earlier blogs for how I dealt with it.

Link

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Christmas Spirit

As the original Engadget article quotes. "This is just sick, some people get way too into the holiday spirit."

Great christmas video anyway. I've linked to the video directly - use the Engadget link above to get the details!

Video Link

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Flickr!

I've been uploading quite a few of my own photographs to Flickr! recently and have just added a new Flickr! group of the photographs people took on Saturday night. You'll need to be one of my Flickr! contacts to post there.

My Flickr! ID is barry_john_williams (link to my Flickr! homepage).
My Flickr! group is called Barry's Stag Night.

Stag Night




After finally recovering from Saturday night, I must thank everyone who came along to make a fantastic night - In particular to my best man Colin for his work preparing it!

The restaurant was delicious and I think I'll be definitely going back! I had the Chicken Parcels and the Duck Green Thai Curry. The Green Curry was very spicy and very nice, we were informed that we musn't eat the leaves on the chicken parcels - Sam proclaimed that they must think we're stupid - "I'll eat the leaf and leave the chicken"! After the meal there was some dispute over my fortune cookie - but I think it read "Look after pigeons, some day a statue will be made of you". We don't know whether it was "out of" me... Sam thought I got the only cookie with a joke in it!!

Next up was a taxi journey into town where we couldn't get into Wetherspoons because it was so busy, Edwards didn't want a group so large inside, but In the end Bar Buddha came to the rescue and let us all in.

I don't really remember much after Bar Buddha, though I do seem to remember a sports bar and wearing a T-Shirt advertising the Tartan Army and The Proclaimers (Thanks Tom)!

Cheers everyone and see you all in three weeks!!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Newspapers Not So Slow...

Just spotted this blog posting (originally posted on boingboing) suggesting that the newspapers are catching up with the speed of news over the internet!

Very nice piece of photoshopping anyway.

link

Friday, November 11, 2005

Stag Night

The final decisions have been made and we are all meeting this Saturday (12th Nov) at Coopers bar in Central Station between 4pm and 5pm. The meal has been booked for 6pm and is in Yen's Oriental Restaurant, the menu can be found here.

After the meal, the night is somewhat open - we can pretty much go to any pub. Colin's suggestion of somewhere quiet where we can all sit is a good one.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Fireworks on Glasgow Green

On Saturday I was at Glasgow Green watching Glasgow's Fireworks display. Thoroughly enjoyed what was probably Glasgow's best ever fireworks display.

I didn't bother taking my camera as traditionally they haven't been anything ultra exciting. But this was different.

The best I could get was my camera phone's video and have attached a "3GP" clip to this entry.

The organisers attempted a fully synchronised display with music and while at times it went a little out of sync (Great Balls of Fire) the rest of the display was pretty much spot on! A big surprise was the use of green low level lighting across the top of the crowd which gave a really big impact to the display.

Kudos goes to Easyjet for flying their 747 passengers ultra low over the green to give them a spectacular birds eye view of the event. I'm sure it wasn't deliberate...

Glasgow Green Fireworks Video Clip

Friday, September 30, 2005

eBid Auctions

For today only, eBid are offering their Gold Membership for only 75p. Their Gold membership offers free listings and zero final value fees.

If you're interested you can register by following this link. If that didn't work then you can register at http://uk.ebid.tv/.

The original register article is here.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Cheque Arrived

I received a cheque for ten pounds today from "Wireless Information Network" regarding my complaint blogged earlier.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Text Scam Update

I telephoned the customer service number again and this time obtain the details for the 81213 provider and managed to speak to someone (unfortunately, not from the 81213 provider).

They have confirmed that I was subscribed to a company called VENISTA and their customer support number is 08706 091720. Unsurprisingly, this number goes straight to an answer phone!

They do have a website (http://www.venista.co.uk) which details an email address (info@venista.co.uk). I've added another message to their answer phone and sent them an email.

UPDATE: I received a call from Venista this morning at 11, unfortunately I missed it - but they left an answer message saying they'll try later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Venista Contact

I have just been contacted about the text messages I was sent and apparently I've been subscribed for a few years and have been sent 51 messages!! After explaining I hadn't received any messages she agreed to refund me £10 for the trouble. This will be sent as a cheque to me in the next 14 days.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Neds!

I can't believe this is on the BBC's website. Really funny - The Ned Olympics!! It's a load of flash games where you play a NED in Glasgow.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/tv/chewinthefat/neds/index.shtml

Ripped Off!

I've been ripped off by a ringtone club. I've never subscribed to any ringtone club, yet I've just been charged £3 to receive a ten day subscription!!

I received a text from the number 81213 which gave me a customer service number and the option to stop all messages with a reply. Wary of this I contacted Orange to ask them for advice, apparently there is nothing they can do to stop these calls, but they did seem honest about it and gave me the customer service number of the "Ringtone and Logo Club" which is 0845 130 9911 (charged at local rates). They also refunded 12p to send a "STOP ALL" text message to 81213 and the 25p customer service call which was kind of them.

In addition to the customer service number, they also gave me the telephone numbers of the Industrial Commission for Standards in Telephone Information Services which is 0800 500 212 and they also gave me the telephone number for the Telephone Preference Service which is 0845 070 0707. The commission I can complain to and the preference service I think removes my number from Junk mailing lists.

I telephoned the 81213 customer service number yesterday and found the automated service too easy to use and wasn't surprised when it ended with an answering machine. You need to speak to a customer service agent to obtain a refund. However they should be able to tell you how the number was subscribed. I am trying again today.