A week of doing nothing?

My day job currently involves a lot of development work, and not a lot else. As a result I’d pretty much decided that I would try and do different things while I was on holiday.

So yes, apart from a day of testing beta versions of Ubuntu/Mandriva, an hour yesterday reading about the basics of Ruby (and making Hello World), and an hour this morning reading through the Rhythmbox bugs that are getting hugged tomorrow, I’ve done nothing with my computer above the level of just using it.

This has left lots of time for general relaxation (which I’m rubbish at), interspersed with shopping (I now have more than one pair of shoes again), cooking (which I never tire of) and the first part of the tiding/de-cluttering which needs to happen before our new kitchen is fitted in the summer. There was also some family-based socialising, a wedding, and a great plumbing victory which finally fixed the flood in our kitchen (involving the realisation that the plumbing in our house is ever weirder than we thought).

There was also the less wonderful realisation that Bennett’s Bar turns into a trendy disco on Thursday nights that directly precede Bank Holidays. I’m glad I won’t have to have this realisation again.

I’m back to work tomorrow, and I’m actually looking forward to getting on with things. I’ve got a couple of hard deadlines coming up in regard to the release schedule of what I’m working on, so the time between now and 21st June looks madly busy (apart from May half term which I have booked as leave). I should also get round to organising some sort of release/birthday party, as the two are so close to each other.

I should also make a concerted effort to write blog posts more often than once a month.

A fairly morbid post

This morning I’ve been thinking about mortality, and about all the people I see and talk to (and all the people I don’t see and don’t talk to but still care about). If I knew that I only had one remaining conversation with each person, what would that conversation involve? What things have remained unsaid that should have been said years ago? What unfinished business needs to be resolved before it is too late?

The truth is, none of us know how long we’ve got. Maybe it’s time to start treating every conversation as the last one we might have with that person, because, eventually, one of them will be.

A week off work

This week I have been on leave. I’ve not really been anywhere, but have largely spent the week either at home, or out with family.

My plans for the week were to reinstall my laptop, get my hair cut off, and do something about de-cluttering the house. It’s now Thursday, and I’m well on track to get all of the above done (with only some of the clutter still outstanding). I’ve also eaten well, slept properly, and generally managed to avoid stress, impossible people, and other such things.

On a technical level. I’ve not done anything too productive, but have been playing around with Google Sites to see what sort of things it is capable of. So far I like the RSS features, but am not really seeing anything that would make me move away from WordPress in the near future.

I’m back to work on Monday, and am sort of looking forward to it. I think this probably makes me sad.

Various technology related ramblings

I was going to write a post about the iPad, but I think most of what I wanted to say has been expressed in quite a few other places. Largely, I think it looks pretty, but the lack of customisation and multitasking mean that if I was to get one, I don’t think I’d get the use out of it that the price tag would require, although I do concede that this product is going to appeal greatly to non-technical users.

I should also mention Firefox 3.6, which actually does seem faster than 3.5, and which I’ve been using for a few days now without noticing anything different other than the speed (I like new things, but I also dislike unnecessary interface changes because they cause my brain to have to think for an extra second or two).

Ubuntu users wanting to get hold of the latest releases of Mozilla software might want to try the ubuntuzilla repository which seems to work a treat.

What else?

Well, I’ve not really stumbled upon any other new and interesting technology this week, largely because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work and have had very little recreational internet time. I have however noticed that Facebook seems to be prompting me to “reconnect” with people I see every day (it’s not suggested Steph yet, but it’s only a matter of time), which makes me wish there was a setting to define people with whom I largely interact with offline. That way Facebook might actually prompt me to talk to people I really do actually need to reconnect with.

Happy Christmas from New York

We are now in New York.

Wednesday was a very long day. We got up at 3:30am UK time, and didn’t arrive at our hotel until the sort of time we would normally be thinking of going to bed. Despite this, we went to Starbucks for a coffee (there are no coffee making facilities in our room), and then wandered to Times Square to look at the pretty lights and generally marvel at how big and alive everything feels. We then went to the restaurant next to our hotel to grab food and drink before getting a stupidly early night (8pm NY time, which felt like 1am).

Thursday (Christmas Eve) involved a lot of shopping (or rather wandering around shops and not buying a lot). We also saw lots of Christmas celebrations which made me realise how bad the UK is at celebrating Christmas. I managed to stay up until 10pm, and seem to have slipped back into a half decent sleeping pattern.

Today (so far) we have wandered around Central Park, taken lots of photographs, and eaten delicious bagels. Tomorrow we plan on doing more shopping (proper shopping this time) along with a visit to the Museum of Modern Art to see Tim Burton’s exhibition.

All in all, I think I like this city. Some things about it are strange though. I really like the hotel we’re in, but it does lack a bar (there is a mini bar, but with no price list I’m not risking it), and we could really do with a way to make coffee in the room. On the bright side, we’re a stones throw from Starbucks and about 20 places to eat and drink, so it’s hardly a massive chore to go out, explore, and try out lots of different nice food (on Wednesday I had the best pizza I’ve had for ages, and everything we’ve eaten so far has been great).

The first batch of photos should be on Facebook soon.

A brief life update

This week I’ve largely been:

  • Listening to the new albums by The Flaming Lips, Atlas Sound, Charlotte Hatherley and Broadcast (all of which I’m really enjoying)
  • Updating my main workstation to Ubuntu 9.10
  • Learning about Google Wave
  • Trying to juggle various work tasks (and not dropping anything hopefully).

Oh, and I still hate this time of year. Even though we had no annoying begging children this year, there is still the firework-hating dog to deal with.

Flaming Lungs and Flaming Lips

At various points in the last few days I’ve been fairly convinced that I’m ill. I’ve had a sore throat, various wheezing fits, and a general sense of tiredness that sleep does not fix.  The annoying thing is that each “episode” only lasts a few hours and then I feel fine again. Maybe it’s my super-immune system kicking in, or maybe I just need a holiday and I’m not ill at all.

In other (more relevant) news, I’ve been losing myself in the new Flaming Lips album for days. It’s epic (over an hour and a half if you download the iTunes version), and a very challenging listen, but if you like music that makes you think and that is a little (lot) to the left of the mainstream then I’d very much recommend it. I’m also liking the new Califone album (for those times when I need to be soothed rather than challenged), but have otherwise not bought a great deal of new music recently.

Of course, by “recently” I mean this month.

Holidays and other things

As of 4pm tomorrow I’m on holiday for 10 days. It’s the first break of any length I’ve had for a few weeks, and I am very much looking forward to it. Last time I was off I ended up spending most of the week working on various projects, but I do intend to make at least a half hearted effort to step away from my laptop for a few hours each day and actually enjoy the sunshine.

I will also review some music, seeing as I’ve actually been asked to by some of the people who make it (which still scares me).

Of course, it would be a good time to upgrade all the computers to Ubuntu 9.04, but I think I may wait a couple of weeks for that.

Renovations

So far this weekend I have:

  • Built a webserver out of the useable parts from my dead PC (and the case of another less powerful machine).
  • Set up webmin on all my Linux machines and built a webmin cluster.
  • Copied 10gb of music (the stuff I actually listen to) onto my new laptop.
  • Rebuilt my old PC (OS and config files) as a VM on my laptop.

So all in all a busy weekend.

Why I hate this time of year

This is not a post about any of the things I usually blog about, but I thought it was worth making a note of.

October and November are fast becoming my least favourite months of the year. It’s too cold, everyone is miserable, and our household is in a state of siege mentality due to the constant sonic bombardment that comes from the endless firework displays that our neighbours seem to love.

I actually like fireworks. I think they are pretty and that they cheer people up at a time when shorter days and less sunshine can drag us all down a bit. However this view is not shared by our cats, and most especially by our dog who has now been prescribed a herbal remedy for his firework phobia (valium didn’t work and we’ve run out of other viable alternatives). He’s currently sat on the floor underneath my desk and he’s visibly shaking. He’ll probably be like this for a few hours during which time he’ll not eat, not sleep, and be very fractious and downright unpleasant.

So yes, that why I’m not too keen on this time of year and also why we’re unlikely to be out and about after dark for the next couple of weeks at least.