Nov 19 2010

PS3 FanBoys, Look Away Now

Category: VideosChrisM @ 11:50 pm

My thanks to ChrisB for posting the following video up on Facebook. As I may have mentioned already on this site, I’m hoping to get a Kinect for Christmas. Partially for the intended use (playing games and interacting with some menus on the Xbox without using a controller), but also because I’m fascinated by the potential for other uses when the USB device is plugged into a Windows/Linux (or even a Mac I suppose!) box and drivers (already created) and applications and bodges (some already out in the wild, some currently in alpha stages) are used. Yes, the whole Minority Report-style waving your hands in the air to select and move objects around has a short term appeal to it, but just check what the guy does in the clip below. As mentioned within the comments section on the video’s native YouTube page, the possibilities of what can be done if you could use two or three Kinects around a room at the same time are very interesting.

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Nov 05 2010

Amsterdam Page Updated

Category: Amsterdam,In The MediaChrisM @ 12:29 am

Someone (who I assume wanted to remain anonymous) e-mailed me asking for my POI (Points Of Interest) files for Amsterdam. Although these still haven’t been tidied up (they were originally only intended for personal use), I had already put links up for the KML formatted versions of these files on the Amsterdam page here at this site. As this person wanted them for his TomTom, I have converted the latest versions to OV2 files, as well as GPX (as he requested), and added links to these on the page.

As ever, you are welcome to the files for personal use, however if they are to be used for profit in anyway, please do contact me for further discussion first.
Since Anna was born, trips to Amsterdam have been off the table, so any updates could take a while to get done. If anyone wants the files updated more quickly, and would like me to do it, please cover the cost of : flights (TSE<>AMS), accommodation, a full time nanny for Anna whilst I’m away and the biggest bunch of flowers, box of chocolates and a meal out to try and persuade Irina it is a good idea (99.5% joking) 🙂
If you plan to visit Amsterdam, and the number 420 means something to you, you may well want to visit sooner rather than later, as reports are coming in that the government over there is once again attempting to tighten controls on the grey area of selling something that is decriminalized for personal use, but still illegal to trade large amounts of. See here for a BBC article on the subject. There have been similar reports for years, but as the number of CS slowly decline, there may well come a day when my GPS files are of no use at all 🙁

Oh, and before I forget, I’ll be posting up the video that some kind soul has put on YouTube of Karra’s TV appearance, and also posting more Anna photos and videos very soon. If not tonight, then tomorrow.

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Nov 03 2010

Tweeting Posts And Posting Tweets

Category: WordPressChrisM @ 10:12 pm

Although I have not had the time recently to sit and read through my twitter friend’s tweets very much, I do still use the twitter service itself a lot. This blog has the Twitter Tools plug-in installed, which provides a lot of integration of customization between tweets and posts.
Every time I create a new post on this site, a tweet is automatically generated under my Twitter account, which has the post title, and a link to the post itself. This obviously helps encourage a few people to visit my site, and through an app in Facebook, sets my status update as well. If you write a post about bar reviews, and don’t want to have to manually create a tweet explaining you’ve just published the post, this plug-in makes a lot of sense.
Also, every time I tweet, a blog post mirroring the content is created on this site. I find this very useful, as if I’m out and about with my phone, whether I’m writing a tweet from within PockeTwit (possibly with a picture included), streaming an (at the time) live video from my phone with Qik or publishing my location via Foursquare, I don’t need to either instantly repeat any information from a different program, or wait until I get home and remember to mirror the data elsewhere. Obviously I still need to remember to actually embed the pictures/videos later, as I appreciate that some people don’t have the time to click on external links, but the Twitter Tools plug-in definitely saves me a lot of time.
There are related Twitter Tools plug-ins that cover… URLs (to automatically shorten long URLs to keep within the 140 character limit imposted by Twitter. You can also use it to track visitor activity related to those links, if you have a account).
Exclude Category (if you don’t want to have a certain group of posts tweeted about, this helps you.
Hashtags (which as you can probably guess, correctly handles hash tags. If I mention #UKNews in a tweet, then the corresponding blog post will automatically link that hash tag to the relevant search URL on Twitter.)

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Oct 12 2010

NRJ visited by CIA!!

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 2:55 am

Just before we left Britain, Irina, Anna and I all went to see Nick, Roz, and the newly arrived Jack down in Cornwall. There are no photos here of Anna’s cousin as they prefer him to have some online privacy for now, but the following shot was taken in their house in between bouts of coo-ing and cuddling Jack a little. It felt really strange to see such a (comparatively) small baby again, though since that time Jack has made it quite clear that, physically at least, he’ll have no problems playing rugby in the future. Fingers crossed for our trip back to the UK this Christmas, and if we do make it, I’m hoping we’ll be able to cross paths. Anyway, enough of “Uncle” Chris, here is my brother Nick and me on the sofa.

Nick And Me

Nick And Me

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Sep 24 2010

She Did Eat Some Of It!

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 3:48 pm

The 20th of March 2010 saw Anna enjoying a chocolate dessert in Clydach with somewhat predictable results!
Four more posts will see us reach Anna’s photos where she is back in Kazakhstan, and I’m set the somewhat arbitrary deadline of publishing them before Mum gets here to Astana, early Sunday morning. I also have quite a few Kazakhstan based posts to write, but I’ll catch up with Anna’s UK photos first.

Happy Anna Happily Eating

Happy Anna Happily Eating

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Sep 22 2010

Inertia, Apathy And Forgetting Mirror’s Properties

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 2:51 pm

To any other system admins or those working in an area of technical support, may I make the humble recommendation you go away and read this article over at The Register? Whether you’re looking for a series on network overhauls, and what can go wrong, what is needed for it to go right and just how long should you go without sleep, or if you’re hoping for some light psychological insight into why IT bods and users act the way they do, click that link!

Also, on a completely different topic, please don’t be in such an auto-pilot sort of mood that you attempt to mirror two remote drivers to the same destination directory. This afternoon’s transfer of 40Gb worth of data was wasted when I proceeded to then mirror another 2Gb of documents from a different directory on our friend’s laptop. /E in robocopy or xxcopy would have been fine. /MIR mirrors, meaning all the files I had just copied over were removed, as they didn’t exist in the source destination! (Copying over a network as the laptop seems unable to consistently provide enough power to a USB socket for sustained data transfer to a USB (only) powered portable hard drive). Also wondering why a network transfer that is entirely over wires, albeit 100Mbps not 1Gbps is maxing out at just over 2 megabytes a second – never even peaking above 25% utilization. I think I’ll blame the laptop’s NIC. It can’t possibly be hardware I own and look after. Obviously. If I say it enough times, I’ll believe it.


Sep 16 2010

Double Trouble

Category: Anna's Photos,FriendsChrisM @ 12:12 am

The 16th of March saw us leaving Evesham, but we managed to catch up with Irina on the way back to Swansea. (IrinaG to be more specific. My Irina met IrinaG in Cheltenham, I think at her office. The spooky thing is that IrinaG also comes from Kazakhstan. The fact two ladies called Irina randomly meet in an office is probably reasonably rare, but then to add Kazakhstan as a common factor must make it reasonably rare!)
We met up at a pub that I’ve forgotten the name of (either Irina, can you help out here?), and Anna behaved herself very well whilst we munched through a delicious lunch. Cheltenham’s big race week was starting that day, and I’m glad we lived in Cheltenham for so long, as we managed to use a few country lanes to avoid the traffic that was beginning to pour into the area!

IrinaG And Anna Pub Lunch

IrinaG And Anna Pub Lunch

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Sep 15 2010

Comparing Walkers

Category: Anna's PhotosChrisM @ 9:51 pm

This is (almost) it! Four more photo based posts and this site will be up to date with pictures taken during our last trip to the UK! All the videos have been published already, and if you check out this site’s YouTube channel, you’ll see I’ve already uploaded the last 4.5 months worth of videos recorded in Kazakhstan. This means there are now 538 videos there! I will try and increase the amount of posts written per week until we get close to real time publishing again. I still need to go through and title most of the recent videos, and select which photos to use and then process them.
Anyway, these photos were shot on the same day (15th of March 2010) as the A Promenade Around Cheltenham Promenade post. Since March, she is now happy (sometimes too eager and wants to go solo) climbing stairs, and can almost manage all of the four floors up to our flat!

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Sep 15 2010

A Real Manager

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 8:19 pm

I was playing with PockeTwit yesterday, checking if all the features still worked OK, when I ran my saved search for tweets that mention Cheltenham. (For those that have only come to know me and this site since moving to Kazakhstan, I a lot of my childhood years in Cheltenham, after moving from Yeovil before secondary school.) Ignoring the tweets that were obviously for a Cheltenham in America (which apparently has a shopping mall that teenagers love to write about, and the residents there seem to think a local town is far inferior to their version of a Cheltenham), I came across some vacancies for customer service jobs, more specifically technical support manager. I favourited the tweet (I check twitter on my phone whilst having a smoke, and look up any interesting links on a PC later) just to see what the details were. It turned out the agency was based in Cheltenham, but the job was in London. The salary wasn’t too bad, and to my surprise I only lacked one essential skill, and ticked quite a few of the desired ones. I’m not sure right now if I’d want to be in a management role when we return to Britain (or if I’d be selected), but it was reassuring that there are jobs that pay a living wage or more that I could at least feasibly get an interview for!
This post’s title refers to a point that was raised during the last English club I ran where locals reminded me that the title manager does not infer the same job responsibilities over here at all. You will most likely not be in charge of anyone, and can be quite junior within an organization and still be a “manager” in Russian.

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Sep 08 2010

A Promenade Around Cheltenham Promenade

Category: Anna's VideosChrisM @ 11:18 pm

The 15th of March was the day we all went into Cheltenham for a walk around the town centre (Anna still often preferred to have someone’s hand to hold onto when walking around outdoors at the time, and wasn’t shy about letting you know when she had walked far enough, and expected to be carried the rest of the way!). Anyway, the Promenade itself hasn’t changed much in the four years or so since we moved out of Cheltenham to move to Kazakhstan. I think this is FINALLY the last of the UK videos we recorded on our trip over there this year. There are still a few more post’s worth of pictures to publish, but after that we will be into Kazakhstan based pictures and movies.

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