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Monthly Archives: March 2007

When it comes to work, I have a bit of a penchant for minimalism.  Ok, my desk at work isn’t quite the shrine to space management that I wish it was, but I try to put my mark on my home desk.  When I saw the Milk desk, however, from a danish designer I think I saw a major component in my ideal working environment.  The whole thing does tend to jump on the “Apple white” design bandwagon, but hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  I particularly enjoy the clear glass integrated goldfish tank.  The price isn’t mentioned on the flashy site which leads me to think that I probably can’t afford it.

I also noticed this set of handy docks and USB hubs from Belkin that make use of the cable hole/grommet that are drilled into a lot of desks.

Plumbing the depths is a blog by a lincolnshire-based plumber. He’s recently posted a nice summary of what it takes to become a qualified plumber. However, I advise any would-be artisans to take note of the final paragraph before embarking on any qualifications:

“As a tradesman it’s pretty much d’rigour that you can tuck a pencil behind your ear and then, come wind, rain or hail said pencil remains firmly behind said ear. Alas, and to my eternal shame, I can’t do this. I can just about tuck a pencil behind my ear but I then need to walk around all day like a catwalk model if it’s to stand any chance of staying there. This can be pretty disconcerting to the unwary customer and it doesn’t do much for your plumbing either.”

Neighbourhood Fix-It is a fantastic new idea that allows you to enter your postcode (UK only) and report any issues that you may have in your neighbourhood. The site reports these issues directly to the local council. Whether they actually then go on to do anything about it is anybody’s guess, but at least you can feel at peace with yourself that you’ve actually done something about it.

It’s also an interesting new way to grass on the neighbours anonymously as this entry shows.

Update:
Little did I know that after writing about this, I’d be using it so soon. Today a neighbour knocked on the door to say that some graffiti (very crap, amateur stuff) had been sprayed on the wall joining our houses.

Update 2: Wow, this thing actually works.  An hour or two after posting an entry about the graffiti, I got an email from the Ipswich council “graffiti squad” that they were on the case!

Having read a few “10/9/8/7/6/n reasons why Twitter is important“-type blog posts, I’ve started Twittering.  Some may say that I’ve twittered for the best part of my life.  However, this is Twittering.  It’s different.  It’s socially acceptable because it’s social and it’s Web 2.0.  The best way I can find to describe Twitter is an online broadcast notification system.  It works on the web, on IM and via mobile phone.  I’ve seen mentions of Twitter fluttering all over the blogosphere for a while now, but something triggered today and I got motivated enough to try it out.

I think a lot of what makes the blogosphere interesting is the way that individual, local knowledge can be transferred to whoever wants to know. So here’s some of my local knowledge based on places to visit around Suffolk, where I’ve lived for the last 5 years. It expands upon one of my previous posts from last year.

Aldeburgh (map)
Aldeburgh is a gorgeous little town on the coast. You can spot a tiny little 2-storey cottage that is literally in a parking space, and there’s the Moot Hall which is a 400 year old building used for town meetings. A bit further along is where Slaughden used to stand, the town that was claimed by the North Sea. Good food available at the Cross Keys pub. Aldeburgh is also home to Britain’s best fish and chips, apparently. Fresh fish are sometimes on sale along the seafront.

Alton Water (map)
Alton Water is a huge reservoir with paths for walking and cycling around the perimeter. There’s a hide part-way round for bird watchers and a café for post-walk/cycle refreshments.

Landguard Fort in Felixstowe (map)
Landguard is a 14th Century fort on the coast of Felixstowe right by the docks. It was used to repel the Dutch in 1667, so it’s got interesting history too. The fort isn’t open all year round, but the times can be found on its official English Heritage site (http://www.landguard.com/).

Felixstowe Ferry (map)
Drive through the Felixstowe golf course and Felixstowe Ferry is on the other side. It’s a really nice part of Felixstowe with walks along the sea and the coastal defences. You can buy fresh fish from little hits by the moored boats. There’s also a good pub, the Ferry Boat Inn, which serves food.

It’s amazing, but Sony seem to have turned around the fairly indifferent press about the Playstation 3 in a single move. They’ve just released information about Playstation Home, a 3D social environment much like Second Life, only better it seems. The graphics look amazing, the customisation and interaction looks easy and yet complex enough to be interesting. I really wasn’t that interested in getting a PS3 until I read about this – now I’m a bit more intrigued by it.  The price tag is still way too high though.

Some more information about Playstation Home.

Video highlighting the features

BBC coverage

Gamespot coverage

In an effort to dangle a number of carrots at the end of my PhD, I hereby compile a (growing) list of things I’d like to do/buy after my PhD and have a source of income again. So in no particular order…

1. Buy a half-decent dSLR camera – Canon EOS or Nikon D-something or other. Ok – so I’ve done this already as a reward for getting my new job. I opted for the Canon EOS 400D, and am collecting an array of lenses.

2. Book a holiday – destination/length of stay to be decided – maybe skiing (something I’ve never done but always wanted to do), or perhaps something nice and relaxing on a beach somewhere hot.

3. Get a mortgage and put a deposit down on a house

4. Get a Nintendo Wii and maybe an Xbox 360 (PS3 = way overpriced)

5. Visit and catch up with friends whom I’ve neglected over the past few years due to the unmentionable (PhD…shh).

6. Get to know a life again where every spare minute isn’t accompanied with a feeling of guilt for not working on PhD.

Update:

7. Get an iPod Touch – ok, ok, my name’s Mark and I’m an Apple addict…

This advert about why buying a legitimate DVD may not be the best idea seemed to hit a chord with me…

The text reads: “I’ve just bought my favourite movie of all time on DVD from a shop. Now I’ve got to sit through an unskippable anti-piracy advert every single time I put the disc into my DVD player, even though I own a legit, shop-bought copy for fucking fuck’s sake.”

Perhaps forcing political messages to customers is not the best way of fighting against people who aren’t customers. If I never ever bought a legit copy of a DVD, then I’d never see that message in the first place.