Life Travel

Trip to Paris

Have posted up my pictures from Kat and I’s recent trip to the french capital – We went on Eurostar for my birthday and stayed in a hotel with a view of Seine just down the road from the Eiffel tower (somewhat better than we went to get engaged!!)

Got some quite good shots (amongst the silly ones!) shame the weather was a bit dull.

Particularly pleased with this one of the Louvre:

Louvre Water

And of this one at Versailles:

Versailles from Lower Fountain

Will have to get a digital SLR camera one of these days!

More pictures available here and photos of our Engagement trip from a few years back are here.

Cycling Mountain Biking

Just got back from Coed y Brenin (Mountain Biking in Wales)

Amazing weekend up in the Welsh Mountains. Pictures are here and some videos to follow…

Cycling Mountain Biking Technology

Another nice Mountain Bike route in Berks…

…plotted on Google. Really mixed terrain and views. Decided to extend a loop round the village out to Greenham Common (ex USAF base) which is now a Nature reserve/ex runway play area. Only annoying thing about google maps is that they don’t have RoW marked on them (just roads). Hopefully this will change soon (although maybe they’d have to switch to using to Ordance Survey cartography?)


Route plotted on Google Maps

p.s. Whilst putting this route together my laptop froze. Turns out firefox was using 1.5GB of RAM (yes just firefox – see screenshot below!) Turns out having Firebug switched on whilst using Google Maps isn’t the best of ideas!

Firefox using 1.5GB of RAM!


Cycling Mountain Biking Technology

Using Google Maps to Plot Mountain Bike Routes

Here is a route I went on today on my Mountain Bike, thought I’d share it as its a good one. Helps explain the mysterious red “Works Unit” sign from the M4! Also gave me a chance to try out Google Maps plotting tools.

Some Photos:

Environment Technology

More Green Reading

Servers as bad for the Environment as SUVs? – New Scientist Article

No more Arctic ice in the summer by 2013 (BBC)

Some sites that I’ve come across that are targeting the individual to try and adjust their habits:

Environment PHP Web Development Zend Framework

Latest project – London Green500 goes live

Green500 site Screenshot

London Green500 is an exciting project I’ve been working on for the last few months. The full details of the programme for the London Development Agency will go out next week.

In a nutshell its a Carbon Management program for large organisations in the London area – aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 1.5 million tonnes over the next couple of years. Today the marketing site went live (which is mainly a Content Management System), later in the month the Customer and Administration parts will go live. This post also has a bit of an ulterior motive – getting the site into the search engines – as its brand new and I know my blog is crawled by Google etc.

From a development standpoint the Customer and Admin areas are more exciting as they are powered by the “AEA Framework” which is major initiative I have been working on since I joined AEA earlier in the year as Architect/Senior Developer. Zend Framework (and therefore PHP5) powered, with Smarty for views (of the MVC part) some nice templating and other modules to support the various projects at AEA.

When I can spare a bit more time I’ll post some more stuff on the AEA Framework. All I say for now is that at the moment I’m putting the finishing touches to what we are calling Advanced Forms. Forms that (as an Administrator) you can edit via the site right down to the field and validation level. So you can build complex multi-page forms and ultimately processes with less code – actually mostly from the site itself). We are also integrating YUI components such as the Datatable. Can’t wait to write more about it!

Update on Green500 – see

It made it on to the BBC news site too – which is good news.


Wow its December already!

What a year 2007 has been! Mega busy at the moment – will be posting some more articles soon.



Environment Technology

Green IT – interesting reading

Seeing as I now work for what is predominately an Energy and Environmental consultancy these days – I’m doing a fair bit of reading and research into Carbon Dioxide and other climate change issues. There seems to be a real momentum building behind green Information Technology. Today I came across The Green Grid who are a consortium of technology companies that appear to have joined forces to create a panel of experts on green data centre design. Interestingly their members feature:

2 of the companies I am currently considering using at work to replace our current hosting company (Donhost) who have let us down recently (more on that in about 12 months – when our current servers expire!!!)

Additionally I dugg a BBC article on Green IT which happened to be headlined under technology tonight and discovered that Google plan to be Carbon Neutral by 2008. Strange how patterns can emerge from web surfing at times!

I might blog a bit more about Green IT issues in the future – particularly once a big (and rather exciting project) that I am currently doing the analysis and architecture for goes live.


The garden is done!

This afternoon we finished laying the turf which is the last big thing for the garden (and the house as a whole really) We just need to lay a bit more paving and then the garden is finished!

See the before anything (weeds, rocks and all), before the lawn and latest photos below:

Garden before anywork Garden before the lawn Current Garden Photo

Cycling Mountain Biking

New cycle commute route to work (Off-road!)

So I’ve finally worked out the cycle route to work, originally I wanted to find a road bike route as it would be quicker but I couldn’t find one that completely avoided a major A road (dual carriageway). So now I’ve actually found a more direct (as the crow flies) route that takes in mostly restricted byways (including a bit of the Ridgeway). It looks like its going to be a really nice route. It will be about 10 miles each way and will probably take 45 minutes to an hour to start with – I hope to have that down to between 35 and 45 minutes before too long!

Grassy Byway Sunset Byway

[Update] Took me 50 minutes door to door, once I get fitter that time will definitely go down!

[Update – Sept 07] Now down to as little as 40 minutes! Usually do it in around 42 to 44 so thats a result! So far I am managing to ride about 2 -3 times a week. Going to have to try and continue that through the winter – which will be a challenge!