Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Final Day of the Holidays

Tomorrow represents the final day of the school holidays for my family. I have taken the day off and my wife has to work. So I have the children to do exciting things with. I haven’t really got a plan of what to do with them yet. It’s a little sad when it gets to this time of year but then again it’s progress – onwards and upwards as they say. Now I have to think about what to do tomorrow.


I recently downloaded a couple of eBook reader applications for my netbook. I figured my netbook is similar in size and weight to a hardback book. I downloaded a small app that rotates the display, so I can read eBooks using the Netbook on its side, open like a book. Amazon’s Kindle is available to buy in the UK and is at a pretty good price point, it also has good online connectivity and looks like a good value package. Somehow though, I’m still not totally impressed by eBooks. Or the range of choice of books available. I’d heard that some libraries are loaning eBooks on memory sticks. I do have an uneasy feeling about eBooks, in the same way that I had uneasy feelings about internet search engines. Are these contributing to a decline in libraries and library services or just part of a technology shift? I’m not sure. Reading off a screen isn’t like reading off paper and holding a book in your hand. I don’t know about Kindle, maybe that would be an improvement over a backlit screen.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh Sherrie

I loved the album Street Talk by Steve Perry when it first came out, so many great songs. I re-acquainted myself with the album through iTunes this weekend. I love this track but have never seen the video until today.

Cycling again

This weekend I was back on my bike following my unfortunate accident last weekend. I bought a cycle computer that gives me information like speed, distance, average speed, time, stopwatch, calories burned and a few bits of other information.

We cycled 13 miles today, to a nearby village and back. The weather was just right. I’m glad I had this extra day for the weekend to enjoy with my family.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Bank Holiday Beckons

I find it hard to believe that September is almost upon us. Seems like it was only yesterday that we were into summer. I traditionally like the run to December, I like looking forward to Christmas. I like the trees as their leaves change colour and the bright but cold morning sun. I like less the rain, the damp, the cold and the frosts and fogs. I'm glad we have seasons though, it would be too boring if the weather was the same all year round.
On Monday, we have a Bank Holiday in the UK - a non-working Monday. I like these, weekends of 3 days length should be the norm in my opinion. I also have wednesday off next week. So that means I will work only 3 days, which can't be bad.
This weekend I hope to be able to get back on my bike. I won't be overdoing the speed though.
I've been playing a lot of the game Professor Layton and the Curious Village videogame on my Nintendo DS Lite; if you enjoy puzzles and brainteasers I heartily recommend it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crash, Bang, Wallop!

I knew it couldn’t last! I was enjoying cycling too much to be true. On Saturday, while enjoying a short cycling trip with my family I decided to impress my son with a burst of speed and left the path. I accelerated on the grass verge and my plan was to rejoin the path. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for a rut between the grass and the concrete path. My bike hit the rut and went one way while I went the other and crashed down hard on the floor. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet. Even so, I found myself dizzily standing up not knowing what had hit me. The reaction of my wife and kids was instant and very caring. So, I’ve damaged a pair of glasses and have plenty of grazes including on my face and a black eye. I guess these things happen and I should feel grateful that I walked away relatively alright instead of having to go to an Accident and Emergency Department. It does go to show that speed can be a dangerous thing. It hasn’t deterred me from cycling but I will be taking it easy from now on. Lesson learned.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Short Weekend

It feels like it has been a short weekend, my first since returning to work after the holidays. Two days rest just doesn’t feel long enough.

We did cram a lot in though. I had a boys day with my son on Saturday as my wife and daughter had to leave early for a judo competition. My daughter is getting on really well with the sport, she beat her opponents to win a gold medal, a testament to her skill is that she had to fight in a weight category above her and the girl she fought in the final was 6 kilos heavier and head and shoulders taller. She was taller than my daughter even when standing on the podium. It’s not always size that matters though, as my daughter proved.

I took my son swimming and to the library. We bought the ingredients for a boys burger lunch and cooked them at home. We played with Lego, watched a DVD and played some videogames. Just chilling out.

On Sunday, we all went out for a family bike ride. It was great. The weather turned out really nice and we rode to another village and back after stopping in a park that my kids love to play in. Funny how you notice other riders when you’re out yourself, I don’t notice cyclists so much when I’m driving out and about unless they’re directly infront of me on the road. I’m not going to be buying a Lycra suit any time soon though, I’m riding for pleasure not for racing. There was some story in the BBC website about MAMILS (Middle Age Men in Lycra – a story about middle aged men who buy road racing bikes instead of cheap Japanese sports cars). My son found some of the journey hard though because his bike is a youngsters one and doesn’t have gears. If we can afford it, we’re going to see if we can buy him one with gears sometime soon so that he’ll find the going a bit easier and we can go further. I did feel for him but to his credit he kept going despite complaining a bit. We cycled probably about 10 miles, nothing too heavy but due to the weather we had a great time and got some exercise.

I hope you all had a good weekend too.

Netbook Disaster Recovery

Just before going away I was running some checks on my Netbook when I found it had an infection – my suspicions were raised because Google results always took me to shopping sites or other search engines rather than the pages I was selecting and it would not let me go to the Windows Update site, this prompted my scans using the Microsoft website and I was unlucky enough to find out I had some kind of mallware infection. No thanks to my security software though, which continued to report no issues affecting my machine throughout the whole episode. Advice on various websites suggested the best removal practice was to wipe the hard drive and reinstall Windows. After backing up my data, I did this.

The reinstall went OK, although there were a lot of updates to install again for Windows and it took several days to download and install the applications I use regularly. I’m still sometimes looking for something that I’ve either got to reinstall or pull off a back up disk but at least I’m operational again.

With reinstalling Windows my big fear is usually about whether I have a recovery disk. With a Netbook there is no optical disk. Fortunately the good people of the Internet provided a solution and I actually found I had a recovery partition on my hard disk that handled it for me. It’s usually an unsettling period though when wiping a disk and starting again. Now I’ve done it though, there are some benefits in terms of speed and also clearing of clutter. I like a fresh install, reminds me of the thrill of starting to work with a new PC. Is it nerdy to admit that?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Back from hols and back to work

Last week we were on our holidays at the seaside. It was good to be some place we hadn’t been before. The beach was lovely and we walked a long distance every day. As a birthday present for my wife recently my daughter asked me to buy Walk With Me for the Nintendo DS Lite. It comes with two pedometers that you wear everyday and at night can compare your activity rhythms with your partner. There are some games you can play – one is called Illuminate and it shows your Mii’s on a walking machine and the Mii’s walk while the time goes by over their heads and when you both maintain an activity level at the same time they shout “Synchro!” and eventually you can illuminate a town. It’s good fun and we walked A LOT while on holiday – my left leg ached so I don’t know how our children managed it – except that they are really fit and I’m not!

On Sunday morning my daughter and I went out on our bikes for a really satisfying ride. The weather was lovely.We rode along some of the cycle routes that have been created in and around the town. We rode to my kid’s village school and back. It took 40 minutes to get there, taking our time and just leisurely cycling. It was good to be out getting the exercise.

I was back at work today. The fear of being away always seems to overpower the actual experience. I hate coming back to work after a break though.