Surf’s up!

Well, with Winter? having gone finally, I went for my first trip to the beach with my surfboard. Despite the fact that Magicseaweed.com said it wasn’t going to be much happening I headed over to St Andrews with my mate Colin. I was just happy to get into the water and float about, it really wasn’t as cold as I thought it would have been, although I was wearing a wetsuit.

Picture of me on St Andrews beach with my rockin board!
Yep, there’s not much in the way of waves there!

It was fun anyway, now Colin is looking to get a board too so we’ll hopefully do some surf trips this Summer.

One of the r-a-d things about surfing in the UK? No sharks, box jellyfish, coral reefs, (did I say sharks?), or other nastiness! ok, it might be cold but I’d rather have that I think! This reminds me of something I wrote whilst in Australia one time:

Mmm, that’s funny too, all the hoohaa about ‘blogging’, well, I blogged that trip in Australia back in 1998, wow, I’m like SO old school at this kind of thing! You can check out the whole of My Australian Tour Diary to find out more, it’s basically about a month and a half’s worth of entries, and in true blogging style I got bored and it kind of stops at the end! Well, that and it was hard to get round to writing entries. Ah the joys of blogging!

~Rick

The reputation of the Scottish people…

At work today we were looking for the exact (Pantone) colour specification for the Scottish Flag, a quick Google search and it flagged up the entry for the Flag of Scotland in Wikipedia, there are some interesting facts about the flag:

  • It is the oldest National Flag still in modern use.
  • The cross should have a width of 1/5 of the height of the flag.
  • Known as The Saltire or the Saint Andrew’s Cross.
  • Pantone 300 is the officially recommended colour.

What really me laugh was that it says the colour of blue used has changed at times from anywhere in between sky blue to dark navy blue, apparently this was “a selection apparently motivated by which colour of blue dye was cheapest at the time” !!!

The Scots do have a reputation for being thrifty so that confirms it!

~Rick

The importance of cross-platform testing

Well, in my new mission to post on this blog regularly I have gone and created a nice new blog widget for the purpose of quick and easy posting to the site. It’s working pretty well but I still can’t figure out how to save preferences in widgets, it just doesn’t seem to work. Perseverance needed!

With all the hoohaa about Apple’s Bootcamp software that allows you to run windows going on I thought it best to test and see what happens to sites when viewed using Bootcamp.

I chose my friend Alyn’s Blog as a test subject, here’s the results:

So, you can see that sites do look quite remarkably different when using Bootcamp.

Back online again!

Hi, I’m finally back online again after my hiatus without a computer at home. I actually got my new MacBook Pro a week or so ago but I’ve just been a bit preoccupied until now to post a blog entry.

I just dug out my little Blog posting Dashboard Widget that I’d made ages ago (before I even had Tiger! so I couldn’t check it worked without sending it to my friend Alyn!). Now that I’ve got that working again, albeit in a very basic form, I’m going to try and get posting blog entries a bit more frequently. I’m also going to do a revamp of the look of Suburbia too.

~Rick

Yep, it’s been a while…

Well, with having no computer at home I have been awfully quiet with the blog posts, I guess this is kind of expected…

Only 14 days until delivery of my new MacBook Pro though as of today!

So what’s been happening? Working on a few things, skateboarding… I also got snowboarding last weekend too along without about 4,999 other people it seemed, it was good to get riding though.

Last night I had my first surfing dream, as you’ll know if you’ve read my previous blog posts I bought a surfboard recently which is currently sitting in my dining room looking nice until the weather gets warmer! But it was great to have a dream about catching some waves, it’s gotten me excited about going surfing!

That’s all for now, I’ll try and post some more soon along with pics of Natalie etc.

~Rick

Can’t surf the web, but can surf the waves!!!

Good news on the laptop front, my damaged powerbook was going to cost over £2000 to fix so I’m getting it replaced by the insurance company! So I’m ordering a nice shiny MacBook Pro any day now. So that’s cool, but I’ll still have to wait 3 or 4 weeks before I’ll get it so Annie and I are still without a computer to use at home.

Even though I can’t surf the web I can now surf the waves, yep, I finally got a surfboard! I’ve wanted one for ages and my friend Aaron was moving back to New Zealand and didn’t want to pay to ship it back over.

Surf's up!

It’s a 6’6″ custom Mark Richards board and it’s a bit thicker than a regular board so it should be pretty good for the surf around here. I’m looking forward to taking it out on the water even just for a paddle about, I know it’s pretty cold over here for surfing compared to say Australia, but there’s a big plus side too – NO SHARKS!!! ;)

Fun picture of Natalie time!

Here’s a picture of Natalie chilling in one of her favourite environments, a ball pool!

Natalie chilling in her domain
This was taken (with my phone so quality is low!) at the Marmalade Pot restaurant in Dundee whilst dining with Uncle Alistair, Aunty Maureen, Granny and Daddy (Mommy was in Ireland so she wasn’t there).

~Rick

A strange experiment…

Well, not really an experiment, more a consequence… Huh? well, I previously blogged about dropping my laptop, it’s now away getting looked at and I’m not sure if it will get fixed or replaced. Anyway, it means we could be without a computer at home for a month!!!

So, Annie and I are treating this as an interesting experience, it’s funny how often you jump on the web to check out something or your email. When you can’t do it it’s kind of weird.

On the plus side it means we should have more time to do some work on the house ;) or watch cable.

~Rick

Bored? Why not ‘Blog Spam’ yourself?

My own blog’s comments got spammed this week with 11 posts linking to a website trying to sell some drug. I thought it’d be funny to ‘Blog spam’ myself, rather just wait for someone to post comment spam in my blog I’d just post random spam’ish comments! I’m not going to, maybe another time!

Well, what’s new? I’ve had a funny idea for a way to raise money to add stuff to the new outdoor concrete skatepark, not that the park isn’t gonna be awesome to skate but there’s plenty of scope to add things to it. Also there’s no floodlights for it at the moment so it’d be awesome to be able to get cash for that, plus adding things like grind ledges is possible too.

So, what’s the idea? Heard of the Million Dollar Homepage? Well, we’re gonna do the ‘500,000 pixel homepage’ instead!!! Basically the idea is to sell blocks of 20 x 20 pixels for £25 a pop, if we did happen to sell them all it would actually raise £31,250 which would be amazing.

So, if you’ve got something you want to advertise online or you know someone that does, or you just want to support and help improve this awesome skatepark then give me a shout, I have some pixels for sale!!!

On a family note Natalie is a bit sick this week, she’s been home from nursery all week (although she went on Monday but was sick), she’s been waking up a bit at night so Mommy and Daddy’s sleep pattern has been a bit disrupted, hence I woke up at 9:48am this morning! Good job I’m my own boss.

Oh yeah, Google Maps has updated some of the satellite images for the UK, my house is now very visible! And, no that’s not a real space shuttle beside my house (These satellite images are 2 or 3 years old as the shuttle is no longer there). You might need to click on the zoom tool (left hand side) as it seems to come up one step out when you follow that link sometimes, my house is just below the red pointer – black roof white yard with white walls.

~Rick

Insomnia, Insomnia, Insaawwwwmnia…

Mmm, can’t seem to get to sleep tonight, I stayed up late watching TV, then when I went to bed I couldn’t sleep (Darn Start Trek Voyager! Somebody just get rid of the Holodec already, it’s always causing trouble…).

So I thought I’d wander around downstairs for a bit, then I remembered I hadn’t blogged since last week. Well, what’s happened since then? MacWorld San Francisco came and went and gave us some interesting goodies from Apple, new iMac and new ‘MacBook Pro‘ laptops (the name does grow on you, but the impending loss of the ‘PowerBook‘ brand is hard to take a bit).

Mr. Powerbook, meet Mr. Floor.

On the subject of Powerbooks, unfortunately my 4 year old Titanium PowerBook G4 had a bit of an accident last Sunday, I was about to leave the house to head down to The Gate with it in my bag when the strap came unclipped and it went, “thuuummmp.” to the floor. The words, “Oh crap” came to mind.

I didn’t check it until I got down the road, I took it out and, yep, a big crack on the left hand corner of the upper titanium casing with a couple of smaller cracks at other points. The bottom of the case at the corner was peeling back and had a bent bit pushed out where something inside had squeezed out. I managed to push it back in a bit and pushed the bottom of the case up into place a bit.

Fortunately the machine still works, it came awake quite happily when I opened it up and it seems to work ok. It just looks pretty wrecked now! Kind of a sad thing to happen after all the hard work we’ve done together! Hopefully it should be covered by my business insurance but I’m not sure how that will work out because of the age of the machine.

Nursery rhymes with, um… Penguin?

…Well, Natalie started Nursery last week, she goes every morning from 8.50am until 11.20am. She was really excited about starting and she’s really enjoyed it. There’s been a lot of painting and art going on, so any relatives or friends are liable to be gifted with some genuine Natalie artwork! It’s been fun getting up in the morning with Natalie around as Natalie and Annie were usually asleep when I got up for work before. Now Natalie comes shuffling through to our room when she hears our alarm go off. It’s very cute when she appears still in her grobag having negotiated the stairs still wearing it!!!

Today Annie took Natalie to see the movie ‘March of the Penguins‘ at the DCA, Natalie enjoyed it mostly but they left early as Natalie said, “I is a bit bored now Mummy”. It was a bit slow for the length of movie so it’s maybe not surprising. Oh, and apparently Morgan Freeman needed to just shut up for a bit so we could hear the antarctic instead. I think that’s what Annie said anyway! :) I’ve still never been to the movies with Natalie yet, although this was only her second time having watched Madagascar previously.

Sunday Morning Live Saturday Night Live

After what seems like ages we finally managed to go live for the first time last Sunday broadcasting the church service at The Gate. It was a small scale start with only a 160 x 120 pixel MPEG4 movie stream but it seemed to work pretty well.

Our main limitation just now is that our broadband connection only has 256kb upload capacity which limits us as the church already does an audio broadcast too. However, we should be getting an additional connection purely for the video feed and this will also have a 512kb upload, so hopefully we’ll be able to do a 320 x 240 pixel stream soon.

If you want to check it out go to The Gate website and click on the ‘Live Audio’ link and you’ll see the links for the audio and video streams. They are only active on Sunday morning between about 10.30am – 1pm UK time. That’s an approximate timescale, the meeting runs from 11am until about 12.30pm but sometimes it runs over a bit.

There will also be an archive of previous weeks audio and video which are already in the larger format, I’m still working on the system for that though.

If anyone is interested in the technical details of how this all works then here’s a quick overview of the setup used:

Internal encoding kit:

  • Apple Mac Mini (1gb Ram) OSX 10.4
  • 160gb External Firewire RAID array
  • Miglia Analogue to Digital converter
  • 17″ LCD monitor
  • Wirecast software

External Broadcast server:

And finally…

I just wrote quite a bit there, that’s about it for now though really. Oh yeah, the out-door concrete skatepark is almost finished now, go to www.dundeeconcrete.com to check it out, hopefully another couple of weeks or so and then I can skate it!

Let’s hope I can sleep now…

Good night ;) z z z z z z z z

~Rick

If you’re going to San Francisco…

Well, I’d like to be there today anyway!

Why?

MacWorld San Francisco 2006 of course!!!

It’s that time of year when every MacGeek get’s all excited wondering what new stuff Apple will announce! You know it’s ominous when you try to access the Apple Store UK and you get this screen:

Apple Store UK Splash screen

So what’s new?

I’m just keeping an eye on Macrumorslive.com where there are up to the moment text updates about Steve Jobs keynote talk, this is where all the goodies get announced, so far there’s a new remote control with FM tuner for the iPod, I’ll update this post in a little while with some more info!!!

Ok, another update, New iMac’s running intel processors, and also a new laptop now called the ‘MacBook’ running on intel too! ooh, baby!

If you’ve ver thought about buying a Mac then now is a good time!

~Rick