Category Archives: Personal

Here you will find posting about some more personal aspects of my life. It will also give you an idea of how technology impacts on my work and play.

Back to the UK

Exciting news in my personal life. I’m going back to the UK for a year. Starting in September I’m taking study leave to do an MA in Interactive Media at the London College of Communication, a part of the University of the Arts London. I’m really exciting about this course and going back to life as a student again. In the mean time I need to save some money, back to a life of beans on toast…

Twitter Twitter

I’m finally getting into Twitter and I’m starting to prefer it to facebook. It cuts out all the hundreds of pointless apps and pokes and fan notices. Just the stuff you really want read. What your friends (and a few famous people) are up to.

I just wish I could find a decent always on App for my S60 mobile.

twitter.com/NorthernLife

Maybe I will try adding my twitters to my blog site as well.

Learning Finnish Aids

Im currently trying to learn Finnish.

It’s quite a difficult language to master to once you start to get the hang of it it can be quite rewarding. As I have been mainly teaching myself I have used all the books, CDs an DVDs I can get my hands on. My top 2 most useful for a beginner are the book and CD Teach Yourself Finnish, and the TV series and book Supisuomea.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I have also created a free mobile phone game to help you learn some basic Finnish which you may find useful.

Finally I have created an Amazon Store page where you can see my other recommended Finnish learning materials. If you make any purchases here they will help fund future updates to the Finnish mobile phone game.

Adverts on The BBC’s Website

The BBC has finally introduced the much talked about adverts onto all of it’s web pages, when viewed from outside the uk. I can understand the reasoning behind this, especially for broadband video and pages about TV shows. However when it comes to the news it does make me feel uncomfortable.My main problem however is with the layout of these new adverts. As you can see from the picture below, I pity anyone who has an 800×600 monitor, or who would like to visit BBC news on a mobile device. The advert along with the vast amount of white space surrounding it, the superfluous grey header and the main BBC News header, means that over half the space is taken up before we even reach the news.BBC News With AdvertsOk so you can scroll, but BBC News is a site with lots of pages with individual articles on, so after a few minutes browsing the news you become fed up of waiting for it all to load and scrolling down to the text.Also they are really annoying animated banners. Please BBC introduce static pictures or even better Google style text adverts.I recommend if you feel the same, let the BBC know, switch to reading the news off their RSS feeds, and most importantly of all: Dont Click On The Adverts! If no-one clicks, they wont get any money and they will have to change the system.

The Cybermen Are Back!

I can’t wait for the return of the Cybermen to Doctor Who on BBC1 this Saturday night. This year’s series is turning out to be even better than the last so it should be good… I like the new design for the Cybermen but has anyone noticed the similarity with C3PO from Star Wars?
Cybermen and C3PO

Baggage Allowance

I’m becoming a bit of a frequent flyer to Finland at the moment, to see my partner who is studying there, so I thought I would investigate the baggage allowance of various airlines. Im going to see how easy it is to travel with only cabin baggage so I wont need to stand in front of those carrousels for hours waiting for my checked luggage. I missed my coach last time doing just that. Below are the cabin and checked baggage allowances for BA, Ryanair and Finnair. (Please check with your airline before you travel as these things could change…)

Ryanair -
Checked baggage – 15kg per person (no infant allowance). 81×119×119 cm.
Hand baggage – 10kg per person. 55×40×20 cm.

British Airways (World Traveller – Euro Traveller – UK Domestic – BA Connect) -
Checked baggage – 23kg.
Hand baggage – 6kg total. 55×40×20 cm. EDIT – 11/12/07 – ONE cabin bag, no bigger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (approximately 22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches). You must be able to lift it into the overhead lockers.

Finnair – (Economy – Finland -> Europe, Middle East, Far East, Africa, Central and South America -> Finland)
Checked baggage – 20 kg.
Hand baggage – 8 kg 55×40×20 cm. EDIT – 11/12/07 – ONE cabin bag, no bigger than 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (approximately 22 inches x 17.5 inches x 9.85 inches).

I like the extras that Finnair allow: In addition to the above, you may bring into the cabin an overcoat, a small handbag, a walking stick, a small camera or binoculars, children’s food and a reasonable amount of reading material. That’s if you can get through the door!

Interestingly Ryanair are the most generous for hand baggage, but I think this is purely so they can reduce the allowed checked baggage in an effort to save even more money. What surprises me most however is just how little weight you are allowed for hand baggage with British Airways.

‘I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate 10 pounds to a legal defence fund’ – PledgeBank – Tell the world

The title says it all. If you, like me, are opposed to the new ID card scheme that the government is trying to rush through parliament visit this pledge site. ‘I will refuse to register for an ID card and will donate £10 to a legal defence fund’ – PledgeBank – Tell the world “I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help” It is run by NO2ID. If you do want to pay over 90 pounds for the new card and passport read this FAQ to find out what you would really be getting for your money…

Make My Vote Count!

Today I, along with probably only half the population, voted in the general election. Salford has been a Labour strong hold for decades. It is for this reason that if you hadn’t been watching the news you might not have even known there was an election on. No posters in windows, no cars with tanoys, no media scrums. All I got were three tiny leaflets through the post. Whatever your political views, the present system of voting means only people living in marginal constituencies have any real power. Visit Make My Vote Count – Sign the petition, and make a real difference on voting day…

Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings Success

Firstly a big thank you to everyone who has voted on the new updated site. We have received nearly two thousand hits in just over one month!

You can vote for every Doctor Who story broadcast (including the new series) and see the latest results updated live here.

In September the site will be ten years old and inspired by some of the feedback I have received, I will compile a chart showing how people’s views on various stories have evolved over the past ten years. To do this I will be using a great resource called the Wayback Machine which is an amazing archive of old websites. You can see part of the archived results for the Dynamic Rankings here.

As a taster here is the top ten from June 17th 1997
Position Average Story
1 8.65 Genesis of the Daleks
2 8.22 Remembrance of the Daleks
3 8.22 Talons of Weng-Chiang
4 8.16 The Caves of Androzani
5 8.09 The Deadly Assassin
6 8.07 Logopolis
7 8.05 City of Death
8 8.05 Pyramids of Mars
9 8.02 The Robots of Death
10 7.85 The Tomb of the Cybermen

Here is the top ten from 12th April 2005
Position Story Average Score
1 Genesis of the Daleks 8.51
2 Talons of Weng-Chiang 8.49
3 The Caves of Androzani 8.42
4 City of Death 8.26
5 Pyramids of Mars 8.2
6 The Unquiet Dead 8.18
7 The Robots of Death 8.17
8 The Deadly Assassin 8.1
9 Remembrance of the Daleks 8.06
10 Logopolis 7.94

Finally, I would just like to say how impressed I was with last weeks episode of Doctor Who ‘The Unquiet Dead’ not only was it one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who, it is also the best piece of TV I have seen in years: fantastic! As of writing it is in a well deserved number six in the rankings.

Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings – Update coming soon!

I was looking through Google’s news group archives the other week and I discovered that the Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings page that I run will be ten years old in September. With the new series due to be broadcast any day now I thought it was high time for an update.

The site was originally created by my brother, and I have since taken over the running of it. It is a survey of on-line fandom’s likes and dislikes of the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. It had, at one point, an automatic script to update the rankings as people voted, but due to a bug this stopped working, since then the votes have been collated by hand.

So once again, with the help of my brother on some of the more technical PHP aspects, I am reintroducing the automatic updates.

I am currently in the process of implementing an IP and cookie system to stop people voting more than once. Although I envisage resetting the results every year to see how peoples’ views of stories change over time, whilst still keeping a grand total vote of all time.

The whole site will also get a full CSS standards compliant makeover as well as a new look.

I will keep you posted with my progress…