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Monthly Archives: May 2006

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Usually I like to eat soft boiled eggs. Buttered toast is cut into thin strips (soldiers), perfect for dipping into the runny yolk. Mmm.

Earlier this week we bought some cress that is now starting to outgrow its container so harvest time has come and I must make egg mayonnaise, which means boiling eggs until they are hard.

My nan's proven method is to cover the eggs with cold salted water and bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave for 15 to 20 minutes. The added salt makes peeling the eggs easier. If you want to cool the eggs quickly, throw a load of ice cubes into the saucepan prior to peeling off the shell. Once the eggs have adequately cooled, slice'n'dice them and mix with mayonnaise, some fresh parsley, a sprinkling of paprika and season with salt'n'pepper.

Okay, now my eggs have cooled so I'm off to do what I've just written. 

Having been to the Nexus gig before, I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the artists performing. Just as impressive is the technical feat of recording and live delivery of the gig via the web, all from a bunch of unpaid people learning their trade. Click on the player link to view archives or wait until 10:30pm GMT to watch the live gig.

read more | digg story

Have I Got New For You just finished on BBC One. The guest publication this week was from the Vacuum Cleaner Collectors Club. Check out the very strange pictures on the homepage. How does one begin to collect hoovers?

Tomorrow it will be a month since I started my first job as a developer. I haven't done anything challenging, just simple HTML and CSS coding, plus working with my company's proprietary CMS, which, I must say, is pretty awful. There's a lot of hoops to jump through in order to write a new page, and the templates, which are written in VB script, are some of the worst examples of code I've seen. Based on the 3 projects I've worked on so far, I get a feeling that the quality isn't going to change. I guess this is reality.

Today I started on a new project, a web application written in ASP.NET using C#. I'm at a point where I understand most of what the code is doing, however, I can't say I am a fan of what goes on under the hood. The HTML is bastardised when using web forms and controls. Visual Studio "helps" by changing valid HTML into invalid HTML, and boy, does that annoy. The project I'm working on was 90% completed by a contractor a couple of months ago. He's not there anymore. Now the client wants project completion, so one of my project managers has asked me to finish it off, working to a "fix list". It turns out that the contractor wasn't very good at displaying his handy work to the browser. Tables galore and structural tags used for presentational purposes, plus awkward page flows that lead to user confusion.

I've just printed the following ASP.NET tutorials for reading on the bus to work tomorrow morning.

Hopefully these Sitepoint tutorials, which are actually the first four chapters of a book, will prove helpful in how to develop the ASP.NET way. I'm not convinced as of yet.

I left work early yesterday to drop my car off at W.Livingstone’s, a SEAT dealer in Uddingston near Glasgow. Today they’ll fitting a new clutch, replacing the worn front brake pads, changing the split rear wiper blade, fi… and finally, after months of driving around with a broken passenger side interior door handle, a new one will be fitted in its place. A late addition to the bill of work was an MOT, which I pray goes smoothly considering the small fortune I’m about to fork out for the work listed so far.

Last night, after I dropped my car off I drove away in a brand new SEAT Leon courtesy car and headed for Lenzie where a couple of friends live. What should have been a 20 minute drive turned into a 50 minute drive. Yes, I got lost.

Because the weather was great, in Glasgow terms anyway, Alan fired up the bbq. I am ashamed to reveal we pigged five cheese burgers, each.

Later on, after a talk about four stroke engines (what else to men talk about :-) ), we decided to investigate the possibility of enrolling on a hands-on course all about car mechanics. For me, the reason for doing a mechanics course is so I know, or can at least understand the jargon mechanics refer to. Also by understanding the mechanics of a car, I’ll better be able to gauge whether a car mechanic is ripping me off or telling me the truth.

I spent a large part of my day trying to fix a rendering bug in IE. An element would only display if I scrolled the window or moved my mouse over the location on the erroneous element. Eventually, after giving up and reverting to the forums, I found a fix for what is appropriately named the Peekaboo bug.

The Holly Hack provides a solution, however I need to find an alternative because the bug will most likely be fixed in IE7, which means the current hack will cause rendering problems when IE7 is eventually released.

I bought myself an mp3 player from Amazon last week. It was £69.99 for the 2GB black version, which included headphones, a neckstrap and driver cd. The file types supported are:

  • mp3
  • ogg
  • wma
  • wav

and it has a built-in mic that lets you record by simply pressing a dedicated button located next to the play button. All manufacturers of digital music players should take a leave out of Samsung’s file transfer process. No bloated software is required to upload music to the YP-U1, or for that matter, copy it back to another machine (something not allowed with Apple Ipods). All you need is Windows Explorer, or if attached to another operating system, a file browser. You do have to install the supplied driver to access the YP-U1, after which it simply becomes a removable USB drive, not limited to storing music files.

Many digital music players require you to install an application so that you can more easily manage your music collection. What’s more easier than copying it from A to B, dragging and dropping using a file browser? Packaged applications, in my experience, confuse the process, and are must when the music files must be converted to a proprietary format before transfer to the music device. Sony and Apple are guilty of this, the intention being consumer lock-in.

Returning to my new purchase, it is of good build quality, everything feels sturdy, except the cover that slides over the flip-out USB jack. The battery life isn’t great, but for me, this is not important as I charge the device each day at work, which, according to the manual, takes 2.5 hours to charge from a completely flat battery.The display, though compact, necessary because of the size of the player, is well lit for 5 seconds after each button press. Navigating around the menu is simple and it is simple to build a playlist from the songs stored on the device. You’re limited to a single playlist.

For the first three days, through my cheap £10 Sony headphones, there was a distinct lack of bass, with everything sounding far too harsh and top heavy. The sound was vastly improved by setting up the custom 9 band graphic equaliser – boosted the bass levels, reduced the mid levels and slightly boosted the top-most range.

All in all, I think the YP-U1 is a steal at £69.99 with postage and packaging. Well done Amazon! The next best price I could find was £99 at my local electronics specialist.