So I’m writing my first serious bit of PHP in aaaages. This last few months, I’ve either been adapting existing systems to fit the bill, or I’ve been writing ASP (all while learnng Ruby on Rails).

I feel like I’ve been out of the game. Before I fell out of writing my own PHP every day, I was using the CakePHP framework. CakePHP is a wonderful framework. It greatly speeds up development and makes things so much easier.

Unfortunately, frameworks are only of use to the developer or your customer has someone who knows what they’re doing to set up everything for them. When you’re building a product for those who aren’t so technically minded, giving them something like CakePHP/Rails/Django, etc, to install – before they can use the product – is a big no-no1.

So anyway, I’m writing this new product. It’s not terribly exciting, nor should it be particularly difficult… but what looked a piece of cake on paper is going slower than I would like. I need to get my head around the fact I don’t have a framework or existing application doing 90% of the grunt-work for me. All those framework-specific shortcuts and existing functions I’ve grown used to don’t work any more so I need to do things manually2. Joyful.

On the plus side, this is probably the coding equivalent of getting back into shape for a World Championship fight, after getting slower and fatter from being too comfortable – a la Rocky in Rocky III.

Frameworks are a wonderful thing for speeding up development in large projects where you have control over your environment. Just remember not to rely on them too much.

  1. This isn’t to knock the work of the developers of frameworks like CakePHP and Rails, et al – not at all. I think they’re doing great, great work, which makes the lives of countless developers worldwide just that little bit easier.
  2. Another thing keeping me from top-speed is an insistence I’ve put on myself to follow best coding-practices all the way, and most importantly, document everything as I go. I usually write something then document it later once everything else is finished.

I’m a bit of a phone addict. I tend to upgrade my handset every 6 months or so, whether my contract is due for renewal or not. Ebay is a wonderful thing. That said, I was hoping to put off upgrading for a while yet. I do like my Motorola PEBL. It’s nice and simple, doing onlywhat I wanted it to (phone/SMS/camera), wrapped in a nice design. Horrible, horrible, horrible, UI – solved by setting up a heap of shortcuts – but an otherwise nice phone.

Unfortunately mine seems to be going on the blink. GPRS flat out refuses to work any more (so no media messages or web surfing), signal reception in general seems to be decreasing, the in-built speaker is a bit… spotty and it’s developed a nasty habit of switching itself off now and then when in my trouser pocket. The first two problems point to a failing internal aerial.

I have basic needs for a phone:

  • Good as a phone
  • Good at SMS/MMS
  • Fits comfortably in a front pocket of a pair of jeans
  • Good UI

A few other features are “nice to have”:

  • Decent camera
  • Bluetooth sync with OS X (Calendar + Contacts)

I like Sony Ericsson phones; good UI, robust and reliable… apart from their clam-shells. Great to sync with OS X and usually great cameras. The old s900i was a damn good (if rather chunky) phone.

I don’t really like Nokia phones anymore. The Nokia 3210 was probably the best phone I’ve ever had (going old-skool!), but with the exception of the highly-expensive N70, their recent offerings seem gimmicky and/or plain-old cheap. Build quality has been an issue with most recent Nokias I’ve seen.

I could get another Motorola, but as mentioned, I hate the UI. I also dislike the feel of theRAZR and SLVR handsets – too wide/thin for comfort – and there’s the issue of whether I’d want another Moto after the first one failed after 6 months? Hrmm. The RIZR looks cool though.

Samsung phones suck. I can’t put it any other way; from the design to the UI, they blow goats.

Having thought about it a little while writing this entry, I think I might leave things a while. My PEBL isn’t quite broke yet and there aren’t any handsets I really want to upgrade to. Maybe if I wait a couple of months something awsome will come along. The iPhone, maybe? So um yeah, this entry has pretty much been an inconclusive waste of mine and your time… That said, if you want to give a shout out for your favourite handset, please go ahead!

Hello again, you crusty inhabitants of the Interwebs. It’s been too long – far too long. But, like The Good Ship Galactica, I’m back.

I could bore you all with an in depth look at why I’ve not been blogging, but it doesn’t really matter. Suffice to say it’s been down to a combination of things: the stroke I had last summer; being a ‘family man’; that perennial favourite – work, and a general lack of enthusiasm about the whole blogging thing in general. I’d like to say this time around it will be different, but I just don’t know, so I’m making no promises.

So enjoy it while it lasts (i.e. as long as I do). Much like Stargate1 really.

1 SciFi, how could you?.

There’s been a few things going on this last week which I wanted to talk about, but it’s been a hassle finding the time. Excuses, excuses, yadda yadda. Just shut up and get on with it…

I was all set to record this entry as my first podcast, but no, I went and broke my new headset mic as I was getting setup. A podcast is something I’ve wanted to record for a while, but I’ve never got round to it. I’m trying to, so keep your eye out.

Speaking of keeping an eye out, I registered in the last few days. Watch it… like a hawk as it were.

Back to Podcasts, I’ve been subscribing to a lot more recently. I used to find them quite dull and boring. Generally I still do. I’m not really a fan of the talk-radio style podcasts which only cover one topic. Michael over at Binary Bonsai is doing a nice job with his podcasts, though I will say I have preferred his two shorter episodes over the other, near hour-long episodes he has done. I’m also digging Jon Hicks approach to podcasting. This is similar to something I had in mind for my podcasts. In mine, I was going to ramble for a bit then play a track by a local band, or other track I felt worthy of sharing.

One last bit on the podcasting subject – for some reason, my iMac G5 goes all to hell when trying to add music from iTunes to a podcast in Garageband 3. It just hangs the whole machine. My iBook has no problems at all (albeit it’s slower). It’s been a little frustrating, as I really didn’t want to install something like Garageband on my “work” machine.

So stepping away from podcasts, what else has been going on? The biggie at work has been moving from internally managed web servers to fully-managed, dedicated hosting run by a third party. As part of the exercise, I had to write a proposal putting Apache on Linux up against IIS and Windows Server 2003. For years I’ve been hinting we should move to Apache, but when it came to writing this proposal, I had a tough time justifying such a move. In the end, Apache lost out on business reasons; the cost of switching now would be too high, mostly for time spent redeveloping existing web sites. However, PHP and MySQL are being installed so we can run Mint for stat-tracking.

What else..? I finally got round to buying Battlestar Galactica DVDs (season 1 and the mini-series). Not had a chance to watch them yet, even though I’ve watched the latter-half of season 2. Maybe this weekend. My Firefly soundtrack arrived today, I’m listening to it now. It’s very good, very relaxing. Other things I’ve been listening to a bit recently include Yellowcard’s Lights and Sounds (sounds a bit like early Feeder) and Hell Is For Heroes’ Neon Handshake (which is not new, but I only came across it recently… shame on me).

The CSS Reboot is drawing ever closer and while I’m not quite on schedule, I should be ready in time. Certainly for part one of the Master Plan. Phase One is very nearly complete; I have a bit of copy I need to write and a few design details to nail down before I can start pulling it together. Phase Two is a little more complex and might not be ready for May 1st although I will endeavour.

Speaking of redesigns, I like the refreshed Simplebits and Scrivs’ improved Whitespace. Whitespace in particular is quite good, with the combination of “full” entries and smaller “asides”. I think I prefer this to the usual mixing the two together (usually making the asides slightly less noticeable).

What else..? well there’s a couple of other things (Windows Mobile Phones and no Apple birthday surprises spring to mind…), but I think I’ve rambled for long enough for now and it’s late.

If I’ve touched on anything you’d like to comment on in this whistle-stop tour through the last week, please feel free to. I enjoy getting feedback and wish more readers would leave their thoughts!

Today I fired up TextMate to do my first bit of serious PHP coding since my stroke. I’ve been almost entirely XHTML/CSS since getting out of hospital last August, with a little light coding (ASP mostly) since then.

Probably the closest I’ve got to writing any real PHP in 8 months has been learning the basics of WordPress themes from Blog Design Solutions… To be honest, I’ve not had the same drive or determination to “Just Code It” as I once did.

I’ve been reading 37 Signals’ excellent book, Getting Real today. I’m about three quarters of the way through. I doubt I’ve ever said this about a “tech” book before, but it’s a real “page-turner”; Getting Real pulls you in and is real hard to put down once you get started. All the praise you may have heard about this book is justly deserved—it’s essential reading for developers… hell, it should probably be essential reading for anyone who has to work on just about any type of product or in a team.

While I’ve been reading Getting Real, I’ve been feeling like I want to write code again; I want to write something simple, elegant and real. I want to stop thinking about some of the ideas I’ve had over the last few month – no years – and actually do something. So I set-up a development site and database for one such idea, opened TextMate and created a new project.

It hit me like a slap in the face; I’ve forgotten how to do this. It’s like I’m back on square one… like someone sucked most of my programming ability out of my head. I can remember lots of stuff about various PHP functions, syntax and a million myriad details, but actually doing anything with any of it is another matter. I started thinking about the initial, basic class/data structure I would need and it was like the lights were on but nobody was home.

Looking on the bright-side: if I do have to relearn myslef this stuff, it means I’ll be able to do it with a clean slate and Be Real from the very outset…

That’s right, an ode to a bag…

I’ve only had this bag a few months, but it’s easily the best bag I’ve ever owned. It’s so good that I’ve liberated it from being “just a laptop bag” – this bag comes with me almost anywhere, carrying whatever “stuff” needs to come along; overnight clothes, cameras, books – all have been equally well stored and protected by the Crumpler. Starbucks coffee spills (I spilled an entire Grande Caramel Macchiato over mine this morning…); being dragged along the ground; snow, and even having a lit match dropped on it have posed no threat to my bag or its contents (most thankfully in that last example!).

The nice thing about the “Double Charge” is it comes with an additional, removable, laptop sleeve. This lets you throw your laptop (in the sleeve) into a suitcase for long-distance travelling – and not be worried it’ll be smashed to a million bits by the time of arrival – while keeping the main bag for carrying hand luggage.

It’s certainly not the cheapest bag in the world – I paid around £90 for mine – but it’s worth every penny. If you’re in the market for a new laptop bag, it comes highly recommended.

[Update, 19-Aug-2012] Believe it or not, I still have this bag, and while I don’t use it every day any more, I do still use it a lot. Apart from perhaps needing a bit of a wash it is still in very good condition. Not bad for a six year-old bag!

[Update, 23-May-2019] After a long and faithful service, the Double Charge finally succumbed to the ravages of time, and years of abuse. 13+ years is a very good run for a bag!

Something I like to do for each of my Macs, is keep a backed-up folder containing all the “essential” apps for both machines (along with all registration codes for easy reinstallation). I was updating my iBook copy this evening and thought I’d share. Some of these are generic apps that I’d use on either machine, while others are iBook specific.

Side-note – My iBook is pretty exclusively a web development machine.

Textmate. Textmate describes itself as “the missing editor for OS X”. I’m not sure what that’s meant to mean but hey, I’ll take their word for it! Textmate was the first Mac App I ever bought and is by far the best file editor I have ever used. Textmate handles just about any text file format you can throw at it, and above all else, lets you work without getting in your way. Seriously worth trying.

Ecto. Ecto is the best blogging client in the world. Especially on the Mac. I used to be a fan of MarsEdit (I own licenses for both), but Ecto won out in the end for its wider range of features. If you’re in any way serious about this blogging malarkey, I’d recommend you give it a try. Even the Windows version is recommended (although, naturally, it’s nowhere near as good as the Mac edition!)

Transmit. If Textmate was the first Mac App I paid for, then Panic Software’s Transmit was the second. It’s a S/FTP client with more features than you’re ever likely to need, but wrapped in a highly polished and intuitive interface. Transmit makes working with files on remote servers as effortless as working with local files in Finder. The synchronisation features alone are worth the price of the license.

Coconut Battery. More of a useful widget than an application, Coconut Battery can tell you near enough anything you need to know about the status and health of your battery. Ideal for checking if you want to know if you’ll be needing to buy a replacement any time soon.

Colloquy. Sometimes, the best – or only – way to get help on open-source applications/scripts, etc, is to jump into an IRC room. Colloquy is the best OS X IRC client I’ve found. As a rule, I don’t like chat or IM applications (they tend to be little more than a distraction), but Colloquy has helped me get access to the right answers on more than one occasion.

That’s really it for my iBook’s list of essential apps; I try to keep laptops “light”, hence the short list. My iMac list is probably huge in comparison. Besides, my other needs are either met by the apps bundled with OS X – Safari for web browsing, for command-line activity (remote sessions, etc.), iTunes and what-not, or by web applications –PHPMyAdmin for MySQL administration, Roundcube for accessing my IMAP email anywhere. Are there any applications you can’t live without on your Apple laptop? Please share!

Jennifer Laycock at Search Engine Guide, is writing a great little series on building a web startup from nothing: “Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days”. In this (unsurprisingly) 30-part series she details her efforts to build a small t-shirt business while starting from a balance of $0. It’s a great experiment on the combined power of marketing, targeted sales, niche products and blogging. It’s only on day 18 and Jennifer is making a healthy profit – not huge profit, but it’s a profit none-the-less!

Side-stepping the other items you will see today…

I was browsing through Darren’s ProBlogger site (despite railing against much of the “pro-blogger” hype a few days ago, I still find it all fascinating) when I came across a post entitled“Social Bookmarking – Getting your Blog Noticed”. Much of it makes sense – get your site listed on a “social” site like Digg, Slashdot or and you’ll get a boost in site traffic. It makes sense, but it also raises a question in my mind – does submitting your own site/entries to these sites go against the spirit and ethos of the sites in question? Or is it just harmless self promotion?

Lets come back to for my example. It’s a sort of social-network, global bookmarks folder… and how often do you bookmark your own entries in your browser favorites? You could counter-argue you’re just highlighting something others may find interesting, but where do you draw the line? When does it become spamming?

Sometimes, Life really does turn around and bite you on the ass. Regular readers will know that back in the summer I had a stroke. Since I was released from Hospital care things had been going a lot smoother. I got married, I went back to work, and life in general was getting back to normality. Until yesterday morning, that is.

On Monday morning, before I started getting ready for work, I had an epileptic seizure (dislocating my shoulder in the process). Just as I thought everything was getting back to normal, this comes along to throw a spanner in the works…

At the end of the week I need to get a battery of tests done. Until then, the hospital are trialling me on some medication to try and prevent any repeat episodes.

It really sucks that until the tests are done, I’m not going to know how how any of this is going to potentially effect the rest of my life.

For something different to do on a Friday night, Nicola and I went to see the new Harry Potter film on Friday. Both of us thought it was very good. Ron’s brothers, Fred and George are hilarious. I was a little dissapointed with the cut of the film; it was so fast-paced that a lot of stuff got left out—stuff that is important later in the series (Harry learning the story of the Longbottoms from Dumbledore, for one… it was glossed over far to quickly for my liking.). To be fair though, they did have a lot of material to cram into a 2h 15 min movie! Over all, it’s a good addition to the series and if you’ve enjoyed the previous films you’ll love it.

I know, I know, in theory we should be developing sites that work in every browser and not just targeting specific applications. However, the reality isn’t quite there yet. Support for the different web standards varies massively from vendor to vendor.

Usually we make the decision on how much effort we put into making a site work in a particular browser down to the visitor statistics of that site. If your site only receives a handful of visits from a certain browser, why spend hours – or even days – trying to work around its faults?

So my question is this: just how low should the numbers be before a particular browser gets ‘cut off’? Take, for example, the top 5 browsers in Pixel Meadow’s Mint logs:

  1. Firefox (54%)
  2. Safari (31%)
  3. Internet Explorer (8%)
  4. NetNewsWire, Camino & Opera (2%)
  5. Shrook (1%)

From those numbers it’s clear that I need to support Firefox and Safari (which by extension means support for NetNewsWire and Camino), but what of IE, Opera and Shrook? Do I go out of my way to make sure any future revisions of Pixel Meadow work fully in these browsers, or do I just make sure they’ll degrade gracefully if need be?

Of course, this is assuming an existing site… It stands to reason that a new site with no clear visitor demographics should target as wide as possible until their visitor statistics are known.

The iMac announcement yesterday has me intrigued (yes, the pissed-off feeling has abated). All of a sudden, it seems that the iMac is being positioned for a stab at the media centre market. There has been wild speculation about what Apple’s plans for the living room computer market might be. I think now we might be seeing the start of a push into that area.

A 2005 Widescreen iMac has a big screen. Not quite big enough for [most] living rooms, but close. It’s big enough for most “dens” I’d say. It has everything built in to the screen, so fewer are extra boxes needed. It does three of the four basic requirements for a media centre: music, movies (both DVD and downloaded/ripped) and pictures all tied together in the new Front Row software and accessible from your sofa via IR remote control. The only thing missing is [a native solution for] connecting live TV. Sure you can download yesterday’s TV abc programming via iTunes, but who wants to watch yesterday’s shows all your friends/colleagues were talking about this morning?

So the current iMac isn’t quite there as a media centre solution, but it’s close. If Apple were to, say, release an iMac based on the 30” Cinema display (or even larger), with some sort of TV-in and PVR capabilities, and they could own the media centre market much like the iPod owns the portable music player space. Why have another box under your screen for your media centre, when it could be built in to the screen?

When the new iPod was announced, I was a little concerned about the video playback capabilities. All the marketing blurb was referencing movie trailers, music videos, home movies… short video clips in other words. This got me worried that there might be some sort of restriction on video length/file size (which would be a similar ploy as the ROKR’s stupid 100 song limit). Thankfully, my fears were unfounded – I’d simply missed one of the announcements: TV shows for download via iTMS (would that now be the iTunes Media Store?). Interesting… These new iPods are getting more attractive the more I read about them. Back, Credit Card! Get back in your wallet!

Today was a bit of a milestone in my recovery from the stroke – I started back to work. Not full-time, mind you. On the advice of my Occupational Therapist, I’m starting back on reduced hours for a couple of weeks.

To say it was weird would be an understatement. In the time that I’ve been away a lot has changed. The company completed a merger and subsequent rebranding; moved office to a much bigger (lots of stairs… yay), much nicer building; and a lotof new people have started to work there.

On top of that, I had to use a PC for the first time in 4 months. Every 5 minutes I had to correct myself before I issued a OS X keystroke command that would possibly have spelt disaster for whatever I was working on at the time.

Footnotes seem to be all the rage at the moment. While some other CMS may require a plugin to get them working, we Textpattern users have been able to create them since day 1. However, the problem with the footnotes Textpattern generates, is that once you’re down there, you have to manually scroll back up the page o where you were. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have “return links” like at Daring Fireball? Well, it’s easy enough to do and requires only a minor change to the code1. Simply change the following two lines of code to read as below:

475: $content = '<sup>' . $fns<sup><a href="#fn1" id="fn1-link">1</a></sup> . '</sup> ' . $content ."<a href="#fn$fns<sup><a href="#fn1" id="fn1-link">1</a></sup>-link">↩</a>";

729: '<sup><a href="#fn$1" id="fn$1-link">$1</a></sup>$2', $text);

1 Note that I’m still running RC3 on this site, so line numbers might be slightly out compared to 4.02

2 Update – in TXP 4.0, these lines are 482 and 736 respectively.

I’ll start this one by quoting a comment I made over on Joshuaink –

I go through phases where I don’t feel a lot of enthusiasm for my blog. Usually, I find this is an indicator that I’m fed-up of the design… strange as it may sound, I find the design of my site dictates the type of thing I want to/feel I have to write about. When I launched the current design, I went through a phase where I felt that I had to write “professional”-style posts on web development techniques… but that’s not really something I can write about for long. It’s like taking your work home with you – you soon get fed-up and pissed off.
I guess my point on that is that a design can not only influence a visitors perception of your site, but your own. Yeah, something like that…

I’ve added my own emphasis to the important bits.

Until yesterday, this wasn’t really something I thought too much about. I think (as a web developer) I get too wrapped up in how I think others perceive my blog (including the design) to remember the number one reason to blog – as a personal form of expression. Our blogs are for (usually) for ourselves and I think it is something many of us forget. Maybe it’s why some of us take criticism of our blogs so badly.

A blogger is a writer, and a writer needs inspiration. One of the closest and easiest sources of inspiration to hand, is our own blogs. The problem is, I think many of us (and I count myself here) try too hard to please and impress others. Particularly the “showcase” sites (Stylegala, etc) perhaps, but that’s another rant.

In a post over at Binary Bonsai, Michael Heilemann acknowledges his site design influences his writing and for that reason he is currently having trouble with inspiration/motivation. He specifically mentions I need to carve out a more personalized space for me to feel at home – this is exactly how I am feeling at the moment.

Do you also feel you have to write about certain subjects or with a certain writing style, due to the design of your blog?

Related to my previous entry, is a little peeve about the MovableType API, or perhaps it’s just its implementation in Marsedit. Who in their right mind decided that the process for creating a new post via XML-RPC in this API should involve the following steps from the client software?

  1. send new post data. Don’t send category information. Set the publish flag to false.
  2. send the category information for the new post in a separate XML_RPC call.
  3. finally, send all the data from step 1 again, in an edit post function call, this time to set the publish flag to true if need be.

Kinda a silly and wasteful way to do things, IMNSHO. The standard MetaWeblog API (from which Movabletype’s is derived) does it better:

  1. send post data, including category information. Set publish flag to true or false, as appropriate
  2. that’s it.

Much simpler, with no wasted bandwidth or processing time.

I’ve spent the last two days looking at the same line of code, trying to work out why the fuck it’s not working right.

It’s one of those annoying situations where the code looks perfect for doing what you want it to do, yet for some reason, it refuses to play nice. There’s only a finite number of ways to write a conditional statement, after all…

Hrm. Perhaps it’s time to say “enough for today” and move on to something else. Fresh eyes always help solve problems. Maybe “third day’s a charm”?

I was having an informal chat with a former colleague1 today. After shooting the breeze about this and that, he announced how he had become a big fan of 37Signals’ Get Real methodology and was applying it to his own work. Fine, I thought… Until he started going on about how it allows him to start a project without much of any sort of planning. “Oh no it doesn’t” says I. You still have to know what you’re building and why, before you jump in and code. Without some sort of plan, you end up with a mess. A big unwieldy app that doesn’t focus on the job (nor do it well). You end up missing one of the big points of “Getting Real” – Lean Software

You Have to Know Where You Are Going, Before You Can Get There.

I never managed to convince my ex-colleague of this point, but the very article at 37Signals he thought was telling him to “dive right in” describes what he should be doing instead:

So what do we do in place of a functional spec? We write a one page story about what the app should do. If it takes more than a page to explain it, then it’s too complex. If it’s simple and it takes more than a page to write it then we’re not writing clearly enough. This process should take no longer than a few days.

Personally, I don’t even go this in-depth. A simple list of bullet-points describing what I need to achieve is usually sufficient. This then gets tape to the edge of my screen as a constant reminder.

1 He’s an ex-colleague because he left to try and cash-in on the success of Flickr and Basecamp et al. That was 9 months ago or so and he’s still not got anything to show for it.

I guess I should apologise – I was actually discharged a week ago (which was a week earlier than expected), but as I’m sure you can imagine, everyone has wanted to come by and see that I’m OK. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit at my iBook for longer than the time it takes to download (but not yet read!) mail.

Thank You All

I’d like to share my appreciation for all the get well soon messages and all the support. Thank you.

So how Am I Doing?

I’m doing good. Definitely not 100%, but I’m improving daily. Simple things still tire me out real quick, but apart from the small matter of my wedding in 4/5 weeks, I have roughly 8/9 weeks of nothing but recuperation to get back to full health and fitness.

I’m glad to report that I have nearly full mobility back, with only a small amount of strength and dexterity missing from my left hand and wrist. My Occupational Therapist thinks that typing is as good an exercise as any for fixing these – which I suppose is a good thing?

I have a heap of other exercises to do at home that the physios gave me. So by the end of it, I should be fitter than I’ve ever been! I’ve already dropped 2 stone (28lbs if my maths serves me right) in weight, which was a pleasant surprise 🙂

The War Wound

for those with a morbid fascination for such things, I present the lovely scar that now adorns the side of my head:

It gets a bit itchy and uncomfortble at times, but I guess I’m glad it’s there at the end of the day!

A lot of catching up to do, so I might go into post overdrive for a little bit.

While I was away, a mini-meme appeared where people posted pictures of their set-up/working environment. Prior to hospital, my set-up was simply my iBook on the kitchen table – nothing to write home about. One thing that my family did for me when I was about to come home, was buy me a proper desk. Over the weekend of my discharge, I set about gathering all the bits and pieces I needed to give myself the work environment I really wanted.

The Set-up

The new set-up is:

  • 1.33GHz iBook G4 with 768MB RAM, resting on a
  • Griffin iCurve and next to a
  • 17” Acer LCD screen, which I dual-screen thanks to this handy script
  • there’s also a 30Gb External USB2 disk connected to
  • a 7-port USB hub which also connects my
  • Apple keyboard,
  • 20GB iPod with colour screen,
  • an HP Deskjet Printer,
  • an HP Photosmart printer and
  • a Belkin Bluetooth dongle which lets me use my
  • MS Bluetooth Intellimouse

Much better than just the kitchen table, no? Plenty of cables though – I may invest in a couple of these sweet cable-tidies

4 weeks without an update? Dear me, that won’t do! No, I didn’t disappear because I became an online gambling addict. Instead, I’ve been spending time in hospital 4 weeks ago, I suffered a stroke that lead to a brain haemorrhage (Now there’s a fucker of a word to spell!) which required surgery. The upshot being that I’m OK (now, though I’m now sporting a lot less hair on my head and a lot more facial hair), though I have to go back to hospital tomorrow evening to complete my physiotherapy (I’m out for today and tomorrow morning on “weekend pass”) as the stroke let me temporarily paralysed on my left side – I’ve got most motion back, though my left limbs are pretty weak at the moment. typing is a fucker – this entry was almost done as a podcast from my hospital bed, but I couldn’t get peace on the ward to record it.

All change.

So I’m back in the outside world today, trying to catch up on all my communications/playing Blackjack. While I’ve been inside, heaps has gone on in the world. A new Harry Potter book. Bombs in London (and now Egypt) Mr Oxton has given up blogging – again. Can someone let me know why? The little ‘un is now a fully-fledged member of the terrible-twos club… Loud doesn’t even cover the half of it.

Some thank-yous

Before I sign off for another 2 weeks of therapy, I’d like to thank a few people: David Currie: the surgeon who saved my life, all the nurses on Ward 40 of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for looking after me post-operation, and the Staff at the maidencraig unit of Woodend Hospital for helping me get mobile again. Until next time!