Year 2005 of the Common Era
Tuesday 12 April 2005
This site in the last year has become a testament to how not to design a website. Having ideas above my station I have floundered and squandered time that could so better been directed towards actually adding content! Bah Humbug!
Fortunately my desire to add content has finally outweighed my willingness to waste literally hundreds of hours designing impractical web interfaces, so I have settled on this compromise. This will probably remain the interface for the next year or so while I recraft with PHP, eventually. Currently not all the options from the side menu are available, at this time iWrite has been posted. Looking to get all the existing content up and back out there ASAP.
If I told you I have spent a lot of hours in the last 6 months studying Christian, medieval and tudor history you'd probably think I might have gone a bit crackerjack, but I have (studied) and now feel compelled to bore all those around me with all sorts of inane facts, which I suspect some of which will appear on this site in the not to distant future.
I will finish this entry later (currently having a sense of humour failure) ....Saturday 16 April 2005
Spent most of this week working on the website with a view to getting the basic structure and as much content across as possible. This was completed in the early hours of this morning hoo haa ! a fully functional website once more!
This weekend was supposed to be the first boys weekend in Newbury (and Reading) but I got cancelled at the eleventh hour and now find myself with a free weekend.
These days this is a rarity, so I immediately went out and did a big shop at Sainsburys and spent the early part of the evening watching the Manchurian Candidate while drinking red wine and eating Camembert with crackers. Lovely.
With the whole (almost) of saturday stretching out before me, I will probably go to the local business park, buy linen, look at wooden floors and come back for a bit of a spring clean while listening to the football on Radio Five Live. Not exactly rock and roll!!Sunday 17 April 2005
Funny old week;
I have just had a pretty weird seven days, one week where you wonder whether there really is such a thing as fate or destiny. Read MoreWednesday 27 April 2005
Sitting here now I am listening to Chelsea against Liverpool in the semi final of the UEFA Champions League first leg at Stamford Bridge courtesy of Radio Five Live on my deliciously saucy Sony DAB radio. Ten minutes have gone, Drogba just missed a corker and the score remains 0-0.
I brought a new car yesterday which was good. By new I mean brand spanking, gleaming new, hot of the production line zero mileage new.
I have always thought that if I possibly could I would like to own at least one car that was brand new during my brief time on this slightly oblate spheroid. So, well into my 38th year I have decided to go for it.
The auto mobile of my choice is a metallic silver Hyundai Coupe 2.7 V6 which you will soon be able to set your eyes on but I haven't got a picture yet. I pick it up next week.
I also joined the local gym last week, Canons of Newbury but have yet to make visiting the complex a regular event that will impact my overall fitness or more importantly help burn of those love handles that seem to have crept up on me over the last five months.
Today, was sadly, also the day that one of my ex-outlaws, whom I became very good friends with post failure of my marriage, declared that what a number of Doctors had thought to be a worn out prostrate was in fact a cancer infested bowel.
I registered my Nectar card today as well, damn its amazing the information they know about, where you been, what you brought and what your likely to be buying.Wednesday 4 May 2005
So Liverpool beat Chelsea, I wasnt expecting that.
Last night was one of the biggest European nights of this country and what a feast we were served. Liverpool were a class unit and despite Mourinho's comments post game thought Chelsea were outplayed for the first hour and were then out-foxed for the last 30.
Liverpool put on one of the best displays of teamwork I have seen in recent times, in particular Jamie Carragher seemed to be playing all defensive positions. I didnt see a Man of the Match nominated at the end but he was mine!
I dont support Liverpool, although I did as a child of the 70's and 80's, nor do I support Chelsea. I do love football tho and despite leaning towards Chelsea in the allegiance stakes last night thought Liverpool deserved the win and hope they WIN!
Still on the football thread, I had an interesting conversation with a bloke at work the other week, before the champions league Semi's kicked off but after we knew Liverpool and Chelsea were playing each other. He stated, as a neutral he wanted Liverpool to win, for the following reason;
I agree, after the fact!
PS Michael Owen was a panelist for ITV's coverage of the game and looked positively green come the end. I dont mean that with any malice for I truly believe Owen and Beckham will prove to be past masters that take England to glory next summer, but you have to feel for the guy.
Having stuggled manfully for many a year with an ill organised team, he leaves for the biggest team in Europe for lack of world class competition and finds himself bun in seat watching his old teamates striding to the ultimate that club football can provide.
Did You Know ...
In 1945 Germany had more tanks availablre to them than at anytime during the war. Unfortunately they also had a fuel shortage which meant that most were immobile.
The scientist that invented the V2 rocket attempted to escape from advancing Russian forces and reach the Americans by rounding up 500 or so fellow scientists, forged documents and hijacked a train.
Hitlers Dr's checked that his cyanide pill would be strong enough to cause instant death by testing it on his pet alsation, Blondi.
Radio Werewolf was a propoganda station used by the Germans to convince their own troops to fight to the death rather than be captured with the mantra 'Better dead than red'
Northern Ireland remained neutral during the entire war.
'The Lost Division' was a name given to 19,000 Americans that went AWOL in France at the end of the war.
Information courtesy of BBC Online.Thursday 5 May 2005
In spare moments, I have recently been listening to the unabridged audio books for "Lord of the Rings".
With my five CD Aiwa multi changer I can queue up hours worth of listening, and I have to say its brilliant. You will have to be a fan of the book I think or maybe of the movies to appreciate the commentary by Rob Inglis which was recorded in 1990. The magical thing about these commentaries is that Inglis doesnt just read, he really brings the characters to life! So much so you almost feel its Tolkien himself talking at you through the speakers.
So with Mr Inglis aside, I brought a new Iron yesterday. As a bloke that is constantly eluded by the subleties of domestica and in particular mystified by the art of ironing, I decided that it was time to hang up the spurs on my not that old iron and go buy something new.
The old iron, almost from the get go seemed to have a layer encrusted on the bottom containing bits from my once favourite t-shirts, which had recently taken to melting and applying itself to any clothing item that wasnt bone dry. Most inconvenient.
The new iron is a beast. Its got its own docking station and a number of radical functions including one that seems to be able to dump about 1litre of steam per second onto the most creased of garments and have them look like they just come out of the dry cleaners. Perfect.
Some Funny ...
Wednesday 1 June 2005
It seems that the first two words I always feel like starting these entries with is 'Time Flies' and is amazing that a month has passed since I last sat down and added anything to this blog. (ED Despite adding a number of movie reviews) I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that the evenings are now so light, and sitting here at my Ducall workstation typing away while the evening sun shines on the oh so green leaves outside just does not seem right. But here I am, sun has gone but not the light, dinner is cooked and consumed while an occassional gentle breeze makes its way through the open window beside me and cooly caresses the side of my face.
I suppose I should start with shiny new car which looks really, really cool, in my mind. Its stunningly fast and is just lovely. Its Korean manufactured which raised some eyebrows on reliability but it comes with a five year warranty and full RAC cover for three years and did I mention it looks really cool?
On the reliability front I did have a small scare with the key thob that releases the door running out of battery after 4 days, but since then, no worries.Wednesday 14 September 2005
I had a divine revelation today, but its been real difficult to put into words.
It has given me to consider my agnostic stance towards religeon but does not now mean that I am christian (other than by birth) or going to start spouting verse from the bible in the name of your salvation.
I have in the last year been studying the key figures of the old testament, early christianity, the middle and higher ages (5th to 13th century) with religeons impact during these times, through the reign in England of the Tudors and Stewarts. So I now have a better picture and lots of gaps to fill.
The revelation was the result of this quest for information and some context for the bibles, the stories they contain and their relevance as something that 2.1 Billion people (35% of the worlds population, including some very clever people) believe to be the word of god and constututes the framework for their lifes.
You will shortly be able to read about it in iwrite, once I have solved the tricky problem of making it readable and not giving you the false impression that I am suddenly of god, i might be but not in a classical sense.Tuesday 11 October 2005
Didn't quite manage the double header of Serenity and a History of Violence in the one night but did see Serenity. Wow!
Its brilliant, brilliant, brilliant Sci Fi. It feels a little like so many TV series where a group of people on a spaceship move from one perilous destination to another but is so much better in a way that eating indian in a good restaurant is better than cooking a Korma TV dinner.
Its everything the last four Star Wars movies hoped they might be and thankfully very little that they are, save for being set in space.
Its funny, its visually stimulating, it does not conform to hollywood plot conventions, its well made, its well directed, its inventive and its got some extraordinary cliched but very diverse and engaging characters.
Now go and watch it!
Work is very busy. I managed to ditch my for hell banking customer and now have three normal customers, hoorah! At the same time as aquainting myself with their digital dilemas I am studing for my Certified Linux Professional (CLP), the exam for which I take on the 4 November, am writing a presentation on troubleshooting eDirectory across multiple platforms using iMonitor for our Open Day in November and .. urmnn .. doing something else relatively taxing on time and the mind that I can't recall.
I wrote a review for iRobot today during lunch which is now posted and have been busy posting (over the last year) my written reviews to their corresponding media in amazon.co.uk
I am now a top 13,000 reviewer which is a marked improvement over my initial ranking of a top 56,000 reviewer. The aim is to be a top 500.
England qualified for the 2006 world cup finals this weekend. Scottish revival under Walter Smith and talk of qualification came to a juddering halt with a loss to Belarus, internationally ranked 71, three places above Scotland. At least when we loss we do it to teams ranked 108 places below us.
I never wrote about the Northern Ireland loss. It was hard but I have to say NI deserved the victory. I do think the Sven is the manager to lead England to the next world cup. I do feel he has weaknesses; never before have I been so confused by substitutions, but he has managed England to greater long term success than any manager in my memory and save for Mourinio there isnt anyone in the time span remaining that could do it better.
Bobby Robson got us to the semi finals in '90 but we played poorly, I felt in getting there. It was the last time we had a world class team, as we do now but you really do have to remember how we qualified for Euro 2000 and the desperation of not making it past the first round to put Sven into context.
Brazil have a team of world class players pretty much every occassion of the world tournament. Of the 17 occassions it has been staged Brazil have won 5 times, thats less than once in every three occassions. England will have turned up to three world cups with a world class team come 2006 and one of those already won the trophy, so lets be real people.
For reference Italy and Germany have won 3 times, Argentina and Uraguay twice with England and France tied on once. Enjoy the moment!
I also had my virginal eBay experience this month in selling my old Ducal furniture. It went well.Tuesday 18 October 2005
Its 10PM and I have just finished configuring DNS and Apache2 on my SLES9 VMWARE session. It took me 45 minutes with only a couple of small issues resolved mostly by VI and the five or six VI commands I learned in the last 48 hours.
I have just finished doing this as I am seeing out day two of my Advanced Linux course for which I sit my CLP two weeks Friday. By not taking the exam a week monday I am missing one of my core career objectives (2005) by 4 days and and putting my bonus at jeapordy!
There is something refreshing about managing enterprise servers using text files. Being adolescent in the 80's I have adored DOS, been wide eyed at Windows 3.1 and alternately loved and loathed each subsequant implementation. Windows used to have lots of ini files. You could pretty much manage and fix any windows problem by sifting through these text files with notepad, now we have the registry and 'application data'.
I have known NetWare since 1989, NDS and its derivatives since 1994 and for a period between 1996 and 2003 purely relied on Novell technologies for my living as a freelance consultant. This was as much a statement about love and principles than a long term career path. Ultimately Y2k, two 737's in New York, Novells marketing policy and my inability to fill out tax forms put paid to that and I now find myself working for the beloved N (28 months). Life used to be so much simpler.
We have eDirectory, Certificates, SSL, LDAP, the NetWare registry, memory leaks, Unity, recalled patches, layoffs, upbeat, iManager and last but not least NLD. The last a limited desktop aimed at telesales personnel, rolled out to the corporation. Customers, shareholders and employees, I keep thinking to myself. Dont tell anyone I still rely on my trusty XPSP2 to do 95% of my daily work; customers, shareholders and employees.
Lament the demise of NetWare as if a brother discarded by parents, we are powerless. SLES9 has imbued me with some hope, enterprise support via text file and defined directory structures , hoorah the world is not going completely mad!Sunday 23 October 2005
Had an amazing weekend that started here in Newbury at Valle Doro and moved onto Shaftesbury, Dorset saturday thru Sunday. Enjoyed beautiful locale, beautifully minded people, great food and outrageously stimulating conversation. Even went for a long walk on sunday morning and saw a fantastic barrow where you could stand in the centre, surrounded by a circle of tree's and it seemed you were looking back into our world from another realm. Looked down on the Madonna estate shortly after as well. Couldnt see anyone.
Many people you meet in life. Memory serves them up in different ways. The worst linger like deep shadows on a winters night, while most glimmer intermittantly. Occassionally you encounter a light so bright they remain forever, giving impetus and direction.Tuesday 25 October 2005
Finished a lot of work on this site over the last week. Mostly the movies page has been given a huge overhaul to make the information search engines gather from this site more relevant and ideally make the content of this site show up more often in search results. I have changed the way it looks as well with colored headers and movie posters adjacent to each review.
In line with the primary objective; search engines, I also created a 'sitemap' which can be used by web bots such as google to burrow down through this site and index the content. As these web bots rely mostly on text links and my site is almost completely comprised of Java links I found the bots could not get past the main page and explains why only this page ever gets seen in search engines.
The sitemap is a single page linked to from this page that contains text links to every portion of this website. Now that I have created it I am kicking myself for not creating it before. When I have time, I will be adding to the sitemap page so that it becomes a fully featured 'welcome' page containing not only the text links but also the text from the existing 'Welcome' page.
One of the dis-heartening points about all the extra information I have sourced for the movies page, is seeing how much money movies make and more pointedly just how far a good marketing budget will take you. Of all the movies on the page the two highest reviewed are Man on Fire, brilliant, awared 5 stars and Serenity, brilliant and innovative, 4 stars made only 66 million and 18 million respectively while the second worst rated movie; The Day After Tomorrow, yawn, 2 stars made 310 Million!! All very saddening but a reflection on life; Big Poo doesnt sink!
I downloaded, signed upto and prepaid 10 euro's on my Skype account today after hearing about it on Simon Mayo's afternoon show on Radio Five Live (who says the BBC dont advertise).
Skype is a really cool piece of software, that providing you have at least some speakers and a microphone attached to your computer will allow you and a friend to talk to each other over the internet for free. If you pre-pay (minimum 10 euros) you can also then dial any landline in the world for .017 euro per minute (just under 1 pence per minute given average exchange rates).
Of course once I had this configured I rang everyone I knew (three calls) it worked a treat. I found that the person on the landline or mobile sometimes sounded like they were in a village hall (small amount of echo) but mostly attributed this to the relatively cheap head/microphone set I have at present. Feedback from surprised recipients of my calls indicated that i sounded like I normally do. This was encouraging.
This is mostly going to be a real good tool for me working from home as I have to call the US, Europe and am useless at claiming expenses. I spent 80 pence today talking to a combination of UK landlines and mobiles for one hour. I havent tried international yet but am assured it costs the same as UK landlines (less than one pence a minute).
There are some really cool gadgets that can go with this as well. An ancient handset and a cordless dualphone which allows calls to online skype users for free and any international landline or mobile number for roughly 1 pence a minute. WOW!
I also ported the diary logs from this page for the first six months of this year to the 2005 diary page. Mostly because Dreamweaver was having major performance issues with a text based page containing almost 100k of text. For my mind thats rubbish, but further confirmation that GUI HTML editing is not the all its cracked up to be. Your best off with a text editor and a web browser hotwired for refresh.Monday 31 October 2005
Its amazing what you can find interesting when you should be studying for your Certified Linux Professional (CLP) exam, which one is taking this Friday. As usual when I am studying and therefore forced to read books in my leisure time that I would never ordinarily read, I find myself amassing a large stockpile of 'interesting' books to read when I come out the other end. So far I have some 8000 pages remaining of Neal Stephenson's amazing 17 and 18 century trilogy; The Baroque Cycle, Christopher Lee's autobiography; Lord of Misrule, not to mention The Lion Boy. Failure to read the latter in the next two weeks will result in a stony walled look of hurt and misplaced expectation the likes of which can only be conjured by 12 year old girls, in my limited experience anyways.
Finished 'The Early Middle Ages' audio lectures for the second time while traveling to and from Bracknell and Sussex in the last few weeks. Brilliant stuff. I will be writing an essay on the same time period, mostly to try and engrave names and dates into a mind that finds it easy to construct imaginative pictures of events described but incapable of remembering all but a few often repeated names and dates.
Am currently listening to 'The Historic Jesus' which is an attempt to look at the historic facts known about Jesus if you disregard the New Testament. Very interesting. This on the tail of 'characters of the old testament' and 'Early Christianity' overlayed on the impact christianity had on shaping western civilisation through the middle ages. This, all part of my mission to try and separate the use of the bible to manipulate and control people through fear and miseducation from what was the real message of Jesus and those that wrote the new testament. There is a subtext of trying to determine whether a mix of creationism (not strictly in the sense described by the Old Testament) and evolution might actually be our true origins opposed to one or the other. Thats a discussion for another day though.
On a completely different track, I have also been watching Joss Whedons Firefly TV series on boxset DVD that I purchased for a bargain price of £20. It was this cheap mostly because the show got cancelled and hardly anybody knows it ever existed. Everybody that does however, knows it to be the most inventive 'set in space' TV show since Roddenberry invented a short TV series named Star Trek. These two only compare for two reasons; 1) Both are set in space while the plots revolve around a space craft and its crew 2) Both are/were groundbreaking innovative in their time. Firefly in more ways that can be defined here. Go and get the FireFly series immediately, it will truly be the most effective 20quid you will spend this week, probably the rest of the year.
You might also have been wowed by the new logo as this front page sprang into life in your browser. I have, almost from the moment I created the headers for the sections in April thought they were a little uninspiring. At the time I was busy trying to phoenix the site and re-publish the content in this new framework and had little time to dwell on the quality of the graphics. As I have previously mentioned graphics are also something I am not currently that good at, mostly as I havent allocated the time required to learn how to convey mental images into digital pictures.
Despite being one of the few people to own a legal version of Microsoft Office on their home PC, April was also roughly the time I uninstalled said office and moved to OpenOffice, which is a product of the openSource community and free. It does the job fine, for what I use such packages for, but the one thing Microsoft gives you is a whole ton of fonts for making text look good. So no MS Office meant no flash fonts.
I finally got to sourcing some fonts online last week. I was expecting to be able to download a whole bunch for free but this was not to be the case. Instead, once I had got past the sites that were willing to sell me their designer fonts for 500US dollars a piece I found a nifty website that provided 3300 quality fonts for the bargain price of 9:95US dallars. As such, over the next few weeks you should see the headers for the pages on this site get upgraded to something slightly more eye catching. The new logo is a product of these new fonts.
I am also reacquainting myself with Swish which was an application I used alot when I first started this site to create animated graphics. Initially I am looking to animate the stick figure that you see at the top of the page so that he climbs to the top of the johniebg logo and then jumps his way to the other side of the page. We will see.
Now, study, back to rotating log files. Its not exactly rock and roll is it!Tuesday 8 November 2005
I did a few things today. One of the was to join MySpace.com which is essentially a blogging community and configured my profile and posted a few bloggs, which were essentually cut and past from the iWrite section. Its quite an interesting community. Interestingly I found out about MySpace while I was looking through the Browncoat forums of the Serenity website, which is an amazing film I watched in October and is my current passion. You might have noticed.
The interesting thing about blogging is that people who do it, put so much of themselves out there. I spent ages at one location, ended up taking a survey of which the results are posted in the JohnieBG section of This Site and then did the ColorQuiz of which you can get to from here. Its completely wrong but good fun.
Think I might be spending quite some time in MySpace.
The CLP exam last week got cancelled and I am still studying my little white ass off! and if you believe that you will believe anything.
I did sign up for a 120 hour? online Phsycology course which should give me enough grounding in the subject, and a diploma, to decide whether its somewhere I want to spend longer.
... and there was the visit to the wrinklies. Turns out grandpapa is not in my genetic bloodline, if you know what I mean. He was a great man through the eyes of a child, who died before I had a chance to know him as an adult. I wonder who the real one is.Monday 28 November 2005
Its been a few weeks since I was last here. I stopped by last week but didnt have the time or for that matter the mind to put something significant down. Those that have been before might be wondering now whether I have ever fully grasped the meaning of significant!
Myspace has taken some of my time, coming to terms with the community, I fell out with the Ambassador for Jesus Christ last week which I have to say was mostly my fault and the result of a rather blunt appraisal of a blog published by the Ambassador. We have now come to terms which is good and am looking forward to conversation.
I have to say my fallout with the big A was almost immediately after I finished listening to 24 hours of Bart D. Ehrmans fantastic 'The Historic Jesus' and 'The New Testament' which disects the man and the book with a historic, non theological scholastic slant. Very informing but I failed to curtail my enthusiasm to share this and then picked the wrong blogger with which to confront.
The offshoot of my time listening to Prof Ehrman though, is that I now feel almost equiped to start writing essays for the background detail of my great Science Fantasy project that may one day see the light of day. I am enjoying the journey research of the story has taken me almost has much as I expect the writing of the story to.
Ms E. and I have decided, after much toiling on my part that its about time we lived a little closer, so barely a year after moving into my very own pad out west, I now find myself commited to moving 100 miles east into a busy market town of East Sussex. This is going to mean more time in the car, more commuting but will mean that I am closer to a life that is becoming more important and that I won't need to spend four days a week in the western counties of England and three in the south eastern. Hopefully life will stabilise and I will work out the commute routine, this will rely largely on my existing employers being fairly co-operative. We will see.
At this time I have a option on a top floor flat that looks out on the stars and the amazing vistas of the south downs that stand as a rolling defence against any large incoming bodies of water. It should be relatively soon that I am writing these blogs while glancing occassionally over my right shoulder to these great views.
I also started my Physcology Diploma last week and so am knee deep in Jung and Freud. It looks to be real interesting but need to get some work related exams out of the way first. I failed my CLP the other week, mostly down to bad preperation and went straight into preparing and presenting a live demo at work named 'Troubleshooting the Enterprise using iMonitor' that was very well received by all our customers. It took up lot of spare time though and despite a few days to look at the study material for my diploma am now straight back into revision for my CLP. Just need to get the next few weeks out of the way and can spend some time doing stuff in my spare time that I want to do.
Having finished Andy Mcnabs 'Aggresor' I am now reading Lev Grossmans 'Codex' which is so far a great mix of Medieval sub plot and Computer technology in a slowly evolving but quite disturbing story. The disturbing tone is cleverly woven into the subliminal context of the story without truly manifesting yet but is very enjoyable.Wednesday 7 December 2005
Someone once said 'I am alone, but not lonely'. I feel this.
Despite enjoying the company of others immensly, the main problem with groups of people is that they never seem willing to take on opinion that doesnt meld with their own or confronts the borders of their own intelectual comfort. Its fine to be aware, just do it over there!