Thursday, November 30, 2006

The wind stole my box

It was very windy today.

I woke up this morning to the sound of my recycling bin being blown down the road. Inside it was a bag for papers. Both are nowhere to be seen now, so maybe this is someone telling me to stop recycling. They wouldn't have been stolen - it's not that sort of area. I don't want £200 fines for someone finding an envelope in the wrong box!

On Tuesday a visit to the accountant, a day early (oops) to chat about VAT. I thought I had it clear in my mind, but what I didn't realise was having to work through 160+ prices for what I sell, plus adding caveats all over the place about prices excluding VAT, and then there's the online shopping cart. I hope it doesn't put overseas buyers off - it was a lot simpler when VAT wasn't an issue, but only time will tell if people are really more keen to buy from a VAT registered company or not.

There's a lot of tidying up to do with regard to sending out invoices before the VAT date (1st Dec). I hate doing invoices and receipts because I have to do them manually and it takes me ages to do each one. Next week I am having Sage accounting software installed which will hopefully simplify the whole process into a few clicks.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Technical Epcot stuff in the 80s


Sunday, November 26, 2006

IE7 - not so great

The 'automatic update' told me to install it, so I did.
2 days on and I've un-installed it.
I really didn't like it, and it forgot all the usernames and passwords I use to log-in to the settings of my websites.
I like IE6 more, and if I ever had to change, would probably set Opera as my default browser. It's worth trying if you haven't already.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Piss Poor Podcast

Martin Kelner ironically refers to his highly entertaining podcast as the "piss poor podcast". He really needn't.
"Weekend Live" with Dean "The Ego" Vultaggio is a new low in the standard.
I feel there are several issues which degrade this listening experience are:
  • Timechecks in a podcast - I fail to see the relevance of doing this
  • Sound drop outs on the recording
  • Plosive sounds from a cheap sounding microphone
  • "News" on a podcast, with a bed that competes with (and wins the battle to be heard over) a mouse-like newsreader
  • SPONSORED NEWS (against Ofcom broadcast regulations)
  • Coughing on a podcast(!?!??!) (why not edit it out?!)
  • Trailing 'random stories' as an upcoming feature (wow! can't wait for those!)
  • Lots of repetition on how to contact the studio in many ways, but no reason to do so until 9 minutes in.
Very odd indeed, and seemingly a pure ego trip for the host who seems to have spent more money and time on voice-over idents than equipment and content.

Friday, November 17, 2006

ZX Spectrum Advert


We need it yesterday

I get sick of people wanting to order things for delivery as soon as possible - i.e. yesterday.
I've just had a company wanting to buy something that they've been enquiring about for months. They need it today - same day delivery will cost them £389. If they had ordered a few days ago, it would have been £9.
Silly sausages!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Phase out web design?

More and more these days I really feel like jacking in doing websites.

For one, I get RSI in my hands which means that more than about 10 minutes of work at the PC leaves me with the back of my hands aching.

Two, I have to rely on hosting companies to have their servers online and working to have my clients' websites visible. Increasingly, this is not always the case - I rent two servers at the moment. One is in America and has 50 domain name 'parking spaces' giving each account anything up to 500Mb webspace. The server is very unreliable and frequently inaccessible. The other server has the same capacity but is more reliable and in London (and of course costs more).

Spam is a big issue, because I've been online for around 10 years now. As we all know, it's a real pest and time waster.

Clients think that it's a hobby so they expect me to be on call at all hours of the day and night - including weekends, and to do updates for no charge because I'm 'their friend' (see previous post).

It's all very well designing a website, but today it's very much about marketing it. With everyone in the entire world using Google, there's only one #1 position for each term. It's certainly not anywhere near as easy as it was to be 'seen' these days.

As mentioned in a previous post, my ADSL connection is poor and intermittent.

Anyway, there are the arguments against.

The argument for is that it's financially lucrative and that I do not spend any money on advertising - it's all word-of-mouth referrals.

I suppose it's all relative.


I don't quite understand why people didn't just save money themselves in a separate bank account?
Do they not trust themselves not to spend it on the bingo or ciggies?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hilarious bargaining

I own a lot of domain names - including a number of popular UK surnames.

Someone emailed me yesterday regarding one of them. Here is the message:
I understand you the domain ******.uk which I would like as it is actually my family name.
I replied:
Yes, I do have the domain name ******.uk registered. Please make an offer for consideration.
He replied:
Its worth nothing to you as you don't have the surname ****.  Therefore just the transfer fee is all I am willing to offer.
Errrr...that's not how the sale of goods or services works on this planet! I have it - you want it - you pay me to have it.

Magic Kingdom to yourself

One family gets Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando to themselves - this is a cool video:

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A big frog in my garden at half past midnight on the 23rd September. This is not the same as the resident toad in the pond.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Communication Chaos?

What are the chances that, at the same time, the following things happen:
Landline rings
Mobile rings
VOIP phone rings
Skype rings
Knock at door
Fax received
Ideally, of course, this would happen when you have company to illustrate how "in demand" you are.
Obviously it would only ever happen when you are at home alone, just like when you work out the Countdown Conundrum and you're the only person in the house except the dog.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Europe Radio Stations in Cumbria!

I was driving in Cumbria in the north west of England one day and began to scan the FM dial for radio stations. I was amazed at how many stations I could pick up in a normal car, all in very clear stereo.

93.3 RNE1 (Spanish)
94.2 MUSIQUES (French)
96.9 SER
97.4 RADIO 2 (Spanish)
99.0 RNE5 (Spanish)
100.6 STYL FM
101.3 BLEU AUX (French)
103.0 R ALBA
103.0 NRJ (French)
105.8 *RDS*

If anyone can explain how on earth radio signals from Italy, Paris and Spain can travel all the way up to Cumbria, just below Scotland, I'd love for you to post an (anonymous if you prefer) comment on this post. Thanks!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sony Handycam

I think if I lived near to a theme park, I'd buy a little hard disk camcorder and buy an annual pass to go on all the rides and film them all.
That'd be good. I'd like that.
If I lived in Staffordshire I'd do that at Alton Towers.


I'm just looking on Amazon at secateurs to buy my mum for her birthday and I'd never realised there was so much choice (and how bloody expensive they all are!).

Disco lighting has changed

Two suppliers who used to be big on the mobile DJ type lighting effects units have just sent me their new catalogues.
It seems the way the market's going is all LED fixtures, and very architechturally based - to give walls a wash of light, indoors and out.
It's an interesting step forward - I know my local shopping park has gone all out on LED fixtures to illuminated steel trusses and flanks of the buildings in blue and white. One or two seem to have developed a strobe effect - defective units, but I think to save power or something, LEDs are switched on and off so fast that we see them as being permanently on (but only using half the power).

Giant Curlew!

Yesterday, I was sitting at my new dining table when Digby saw something in the garden.
I didn't have my glasses on, so had to squint to see what it was. At first I thought it was a big rat, then a duck, but then I realised it was an adult curlew!

Staff do

This year's staff do was another fun event - more raucous than the visit to TGI Friday's like last time, but we didn't know each other very well back then.
This time it was a 31 seater event at a Chinese buffet in the town centre, then onto a (sadly, pretty noisy, smokey and seedy) student pub later. Lots of hugging by drunk people, and a shocking number of 16 year olds smoking - surely they sat through the same biology lessons as I did. Idiots.
No supervisors or managers at this event. The faces were mostly new compared to last time - and younger.

Friends indeed!

I've only just started to realise that when clients for whom I design websites start saying to me that I'm their friend, it's all just a big con to make me do free updates for them because "I'm their friend".
This only dawned on me yesterday. I mean, it's not all people - it's happened twice - but it tends to be people who work from home and aren't very busy.

Tyne Tees TV News

I spent a while reading through the history of Tyne Tees Television's news on a very interesting website, The Tyne Tees Logo page --
I discovered, among other things, that the north and south news programmes are in fact in studios next door to each other in Gateshead (even though one has a 'live' image of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge behind it for the duration).

No free speech on Yahoo or Google

Shame on Yahoo for that China freespeech thing.

Disenchanted internet

I can understand why some people aren't keen on the internet or computers at all.
I used to have a brilliant internet connection from NTL. It rarely went down, and if it did they would tell you beforehand.
Now I am forced to use ADSL. I've never had so many problems with the internet in my life. Every couple of days it goes down without explanation. One time it was down for 4 days. It's crap, it really is. But I have no option because NTL isn't in this area.