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Showing posts from 2012

Warm Extremities

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Well, I hope you all had an excellent Christmas!

Unfortunately, at this end, various bugs were having their best Christmas ever by making me ill Christmas Eve so I couldn't perform the annual feck-is-it-Xmas-already-I-must-go-out-and-buy-something ritual, made my nephew literally cough his guts up Christmas Day and now my parents, sister and brother-in-law are doing battle with the little buggers.

First Loaf

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Okay, after that rather depressing last post I figured it was probably worthwhile lifting the mood somewhat.

This past week, I have been recovering slowly but if there is one thing I hate it's being cooped up.  It's a little better at my parent's place since their house is so much larger than my tiny flat, but I still needed to get out and get some fresh air.  For a few days this week, I have done exactly that since my Dad also has to exercise his knee, so a little wander should do us all good.  It was tiring, but definitely good to get out.

Today, however, I was feeling rather tired and opted to stay in, instead taking inspiration from the Great British Bake Off and attempting to make my first loaf of bread.  As with anything I do, I went for the hardest option and attempted Paul Hollywood's Eight-Strand Plaited Loaf.  I got as far as the fifth step of the plait and gave up, as my dough was not really playing ball and the plaiting didn't make a lot of sense!

The r…

Hospital Hiatus

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The doctors and nurses of the NHS do some amazing work, but I really don't want to go back any time soon!

A little over two weeks ago, the muscles of my shoulders and neck started to ache quite a bit, which I just put down to the anxiety I was feeling at the time trying to achieve things at work.  Looking back, I guess I wasn't exactly on top form, as I steered clear of people and disappeared for a wander during my brother-in-law's birthday party the following Monday, not something I normally do when visiting family.

By the time Wednesday came around, my temperature had hit 38.2 during the day and the headaches had started to set in, reaching 39.1 overnight, but completely manageable with paracetamol so I felt more than well enough to head to work.

New Toys!

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Considering I never really got into electronics when I was working in the field straight after leaving school, the release of the Arduino and Raspberry Pi boards have piqued my interest and I have been curious to see what I can do with them.

New Pastures

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Okay, it seems I have become something of a mumblegrump lately, tearing a strip off Yodel for their abysmal service, getting passionate about the appalling Richard O'Dwyer extradition case and on the verge of ranting at the university about their bureaucratic snubbing of mature students.  So I think it's about time I focused on something a little more positive!

For those of you bored enough to have kept up with my posts, you'll know that I've been slogging my way through uni in an effort to learn new things and take my technical career in a completely new direction.  Well, last week was my final working week as an intern on one of the rehabilitation projects, so I ended up doing the usual thing of making a few cakes as a little farewell...

Bit Between The Teeth

I don't know why, but I seem to have become quite an angry person lately and getting a bee in my bonnet about things that are apparently outside of my control, which is why this blog has been a bit on the grumpy side lately.

Sorry about that.

That said, how much of it can be justified?  I know people don't want to read grumpy blogs, but when you have things going on such as those surrounding Richard O'Dwyer (have you signed the petition yet?), or poor business operation such as I'm about to go into here and public opinion being completely ignored, is it not surprising that people get increasingly frustrated and need an outlet for that frustration?

Keep Fighting For Balance

Despite Jimmy Wales' petition to save Richard O'Dwyer now reaching in excess of 209,000 signatures,  V3.co.uk has today reported that the Home Office have confirmed they will still not block the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer to the US to face charges of copyright infringement.

With such a surge of support for Richard over the weekend - more than trebling in numbers since my last post - it is curious to note that there has been very little media coverage of the situation, that I have seen.  Admittedly, I watch very little television and do not read the papers, but both formats also present news items on their websites, which I do read.  So where are the articles?  Where is the news coverage that would normally accompany something that generates this much interest in a short space of time?

Since 25 July 2012, when Richard's story came back to my attention, very few news outlets have been tracking the progression of the case and the rapid increase of signatures on the pe…

Unbalanced

Back in January, I got a bee in my bonnet after hearing about the attempt by the US to extradite Richard O'Dwyer over some tenuous allegations, so I wrote a rather clumsy letter to my local MP.  I did actually receive a response but have not published it on here as it seemed unfair to do so without the MP in question being aware, needless to say, the response was as measured as you would expect.

Things seemed to go relatively quiet (at least, as far as I could see), until today when I started to see tweets by Richard's mother, Julia O'Dwyer, and have seen that - finally - people are starting to take notice, with the cause to #SaveRichard garnering support from the likes of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Labour MP Tom Watson.

My own view is that Richard O'Dwyer is being used as an easy target by the US government, taking advantage of an unbalanced US-UK extradition agreement, in order to make a point.  But what point are they making?  If they are trying to prove that…

The Plan

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Since buying my bike, a nice little Specialized Langster 2011, I have been quite enjoying the freedom of being able to get out and about to places I wouldn't normally go ... and some treks I wouldn't normally have considered!

Taking The Leap

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Those of you that know me in any way, shape or form, know that I can occasionally be a bit of a kitchen whore, with a passion for whipping up a cake to bestow on the unsuspecting, such as this lesson-learning creation for my nephew's birthday earlier this year:



Coffee: You Name It, It's Yours!

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Well, it seems that the cafe at The Forum has finally caught up with the rest of the Starbucks chain and have started the annoying practice of demanding your identity to label your cup with.

To set the record straight, the cafe itself is not actually a Starbucks.  It is run by Food Hertfordshire, a wholly owned subsidiary of the university, but they make use of Starbucks' mugs, cups, coffees and advertising, presumably to justify the prices.  My guess is that as part of this agreement, they have to follow certain guidelines.

From a business perspective, I can understand the desire to get the right drink to the right customer, but having such a common name myself, I would be more likely to get the right drink if they just named it.  Assuming they get it right in the first place.

How not to generate formulae...

Right, before I start wittering on, first let me apologise to those of you who have subscribed to my ramblings by e-mail.  Just over a week ago I published a little rant about the lack of scholarship support for mature students but, for some reason, the e-mail that went out was for a post I made over a year ago!

I'm not entirely sure why this happened but hey ho, that's life.  So if you feel like you've been missing out on something (you really haven't, you know), you can go and read the last post here.  If you just fancy a summary, then I've tried to summarise below - believe me, it is still shorter than the original posting!

Eye Opener

The more I understand about Uni life as a mature student, the more I realise I had my head so far up in the clouds it was practically in orbit when I quit my job and applied for academia.  Okay, I guess I knew that anyway, but recent events have emphasised this.

Just to be clear, by 'mature student', I don't mean those of you who hit twenty and now think you're a responsible adult (believe me, you have far more to learn than you realise), I'm talking about those of us that have spent a number of years working our backsides off and who have qualifications so out of date that entry to university means you fill a quota for a minority group.

Muffin Top

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Somebody once told me that university is fun and that you spend half your time having a laugh.

She lied!
I've had jobs where I've worked twelve hour days for months at a time which look like part-time jobs by comparison.  Unfortunately, the amount of work we've had to do has meant that there are so many people I haven't seen since before Christmas and, thanks to closing my FarceBook account, people whom I have unwittingly lost touch with.  So, when an opportunity presents itself to see everyone all at once, it's hard not to take it and is certainly one I was looking forward to tonight.

Go Go Gadget Wallet

Buying new gadgets is easy ... at least, that's the rumour going around and we all know to take rumours with a pinch of salt, don't we?

When the iPad was first released, I was quite anti the idea as I couldn't see what use it could possibly be beyond being another glossy toy for Apple geeks to spray over.  Don't get me wrong, I admire Apple and their incredible success at taking an existing idea and making it their own; they believed in the product and their customers believed in their marketing.

Ludicrous

I'm not usually one to make a fuss in a public forum, but reading today's story about Richard O'Dwyer's extradition has gotten me a bit keyed up.

Okay, as per usual this is a bit of an emotional reaction and I am perhaps not aware of all the facts, only able to go by the news stories being posted (BBC, Orange, Telegraph and other such sites), but it seems to me that this is the usual UK roll-over to US dominance that is in serious need of being addressed ASAP.