Showing posts from December, 2008


I do have resolutions this New Year, but I'm not going to put them all in here for obvious reasons :-) 2008 has been a bit of a funny year. I've changed jobs for the first time in nearly a decade and taken up coaching in a sport for the first time in my life. They're both good things, btw. I've watched the Sydney fireworks online, and they do look rather spectacular and made me wish I were in Sydney this New Year. We were there a few years ago for New Year, and I've just decided here and now that I want to be there again this time next year. That's one resolution I shall put in here... I've also decided I need to read more. There are some beautiful books out there which I've never read, and I intend to change that. I shall try to read 50 books next year, at least! The weather here in London is rather misty today, so I don't think there's much chance of spectacular views of fireworks this evening, but maybe it'll clear up as the even

It's nice to relax

I am really rather enjoying a nice relaxing Christmas holiday. With the change in job and various other things, it's been quite a year this year, and so it's nice to be sitting at home not doing very much at all... Yesterday, I took this photo from the garden at home of the night sky, which I thought I may share with you... The thing about winter is that it may be cold, but it is rather photogenic!


Last night, I was fortunate enough to witness an evening of utter enlightenment. And all in the name of atheism. Jarvis Cocker even put an appearance to sing an old Pulp song and a Christmas song :-) For me, though, the true highlight of the evening was the opportunity to hear Richard Dawkins talking. Despite finding "The God Delusion" a little bit hypocritical in being so preachy, some of his other books are well worth reading - for all those who are interested in learning about evolution. I'd never seen Richard Dawkins speak before, and his prose, his language and his voice made listening to him a true pleasure. Another highlight for me was Dara O'Briain shouting out to the audience "what's e to the i pi?" and being genuinely delighted at the number of people who immediately shouted "minus one" back at him. The central theme of the evening was the beauty of the universe and a celebration of the things which make the world so wonderful

Alphabetical friends

If you're anything like me, then in this modern world of email and texting most of your friends will be reduced to single letters when signing (mostly electronic) communications. I tend to sign most of my informal emails with "D." rather than writing "Dan" at the bottom of them. But the problem is, I know too many people whose names begin with the same letter. J and M are particularly troublesome. I've one friend for whom "M" became almost her official name. Even when referring to her in emails, we'd call her "M" rather than typing out her full name. But now I have a couple of other people who sign themselves "M" and it just doesn't feel right. "J" is even more of a problem. My significant other signs things with a "J" but I also have other friends who sign things with a "J" too. When they do it on Christmas cards (for the single letter signing is not always limited to electronic m

Oldy Foldy

There are some typing mistakes I can't help but make. I type fairly quickly, and so my fingers tend to be on auto-pilot most of the time. I think the word, and my hands do the rest without much interference from my brain. However, this can lead to problems. I have a friend called Michaela who I've known for many years. I've typed her name so often - it was her username on a messaging system we used to use at University besides anything else - that M I C H A E L A has become almost reflex when I type it. This causes problems with friends I have called Michael. When I start "M I C ... " the auto-pilot takes over, and before I can stop myself I've typed "Michaela" and headed onto the next word. It's certainly not the most embarrassing example, either. I use the word "bugger" quite a lot. It's one of my favourite expletives. I like it because it sounds a little less extreme than some of the harsher options (which I shalln&#

Inside Out

Over the past week or two, I've been experiencing the "Symbian Signed" process for the first time from outside of Symbian, and the process looks very different from the two sides. There's some interesting stuff about Symbian Signed (and interesting stuff in general) to be found in David Wood's blog at - I won't go on at length here about the signing process, as David manages to talk about it with much more knowledge and eloquence than I could ever manage. What's been interesting for me is to see how a process can look so different from the inside and from the outside. There's an endless tension between the users of systems ("I wish the system would do this") and the owners of the system ("It can't, because...") and this isn't only true of signing processes, of course - it's true of almost any system you can think of - not just software. Children of a certain age tend to go through a phase of as

It's nice to be in the one place

At risk of turning this blog a bit personal for an evening, I'd like to share a sense of stability I appear to have had overcome me in the past month. In my previous job, I was travelling all the time. I seemed to spend half my life in airports and on planes and in hotels. It sounds glamourous, and I think for a time I actually found it quite exciting. But with the new job, I'm spending a lot of time in London. All of my time in fact. And it's allowed me to settle into rather a nice routine of exercise, work and spending evenings at home. It's amazing, but I'd never realised how unsettling all of that travel was until I stopped doing it. I have my weekly exercise regime worked out, and I can actually play badminton on set days every week (though Christmas is going to get in the way of that - but that I can cope with!) I do actually have a smile on my face more often now that I'm not travelling as much. And I never thought I'd say this - but I don&#

Where not to save money - volume 1

In the current economic climate, everyone seems to be under a barrage of advice to tighten their belts. Whether that's companies announcing redundancies to cut their outgoings or whether it's people being told by the press not to spend any money. But there are some areas of life where you shouldn't cut back. Everyone will have their views on what you shouldn't cut back on - and here are mine. Pens To me, one of the most important things in life is writing with a decent pen. None of this Bic rubbish; a pen should have ink in it and have a nice smooth nib. Ideally the nib should be quite flexible, as I think that adds a nice "flick" to my writing style. Of course, you don't always want to be writing with a pen containing liquid ink (on planes or whilst sitting on your best sofa, for instance) in which case a decent rollerball will do. But no matter how hard the downturn bites, one should never resort to a pack of ten cheap biros from Tesco Beds &am

I still can't bring myself to love the iPhone...

Don't get me wrong. I don't think that the iPhone is the worst phone you could buy with your money - but it may well be the most overrated phone there's ever been. I think my problem with the iPhone is that it's not a very good phone. It's undoubedly a thing of beauty and the UI does indeed look very very sexy. But the word "phone" looms too large in the title for me to let it get away with being as lacking as it is in the phone department. The inability to send picture messages would be seen as a major flaw in a phone from anyone else other than Apple these days. And remember the exclamations of joy when Steve Jobs announced that you could now send a text message to more than one person at once as if it were some great achievement in phone design. Don't get me wrong - I do think that the iPhone is a great "thing" I just don't think it's a great phone. The iPod touch for instance, I absolutely love (except for the fact that yo

It's harder than you'd think...

I'm the kind of person who love writing. I don't really care what it is I'm writing, but I like to be writing something. So, I recently thought "why not have a go at writing a novel". Sounds, easy, doesn't it? I've written songs and short stories before, so I thought it'd be an interesting diversion to fill in my time during the evenings - and give me an excuse to use the fountain pen which I got as a leaving present from my last job. I'm sure to some people, writing comes naturally, and they simply "think of a story and write it down" but I find it harder than that. I wrote a rough draft of what how the plot will progress throughout the novel and last week I started the process of writing it out longhand. It's a really enjoyable process, but it's actually difficult to generate the quantity of good prose required to fill a novel. I don't intend to ever publish the novel, of course. Maybe I will never even finish it.


It's quite cold in London at the moment, and I can't seem to find any gloves which fulfil both the purpose of keeping my hands warm, and that of allowing me to press the buttons on my mp3 player whilst walking to work. I think the cold has gone to the heads of the great British public - - for those who don't want to follow the link, the story is basically this: the BBC and the man involved have apologised after he exposed himself on live radio. Yes - that's right - he exposed himself on live radio - not TV where you can actually see things - but radio. There's not a lot you can say to that is there? I can't quite believe it's December already. Nor can I believe the number of Christmas Trees which have sprung up in the windows around home. Though having said that, I have already written out all of my Christmas cards. My excuse is that the last posting day for foreign parts is coming up shortly, and