Crazy Water in Oxfordshire & Berkshire! (& pretty much everywhere else!)

So what a crazy day today was for weather. Torrential rain from 7am until 2pm, lots of flooding, people broken down and crashed by the side of the road. Main roads were a nightmare so had to take the back ones which were very interesting in places! Streams forced their way across lanes as they turned into rivers and fields turned into lakes. Kat had quite a struggle getting back from Richmond on the train – she got as far as Reading where I had to find a route to her. As the line to Newbury was completely closed due to flooding. A4 was completely grid-locked so had to go through the villages.

See here: for some photos

Life Technology

Organising your online life using Google Browser Sync in Firefox

Use of Bookmarks Toolbar folder, RSS feeds, Ta-Dah lists, some organisation and Google Browser Sync to keep your online life on track!

I find that its all too easy to endlessly surf the web from page to page making discovery after discovery but obviously this is very time consuming. I found that my browsing would match my thought patterns – jumping and connecting topics from one page to the next – quite often afraid to stop in the fear that I would loose my great surfing session(!!) Quite often this ends up with late night and my long suffering (well not that long – only 2 years!) wife getting annoyed by me staying up late!

So I’ve made an effort to organise my web browsing a bit more – I’ve heard of techniques such as making a list of things you want to do on the web and sticking to it (hmm I do love lists!) but I have come up with something a bit more high tech which is working well for me. Also with web applications and colloboration sites sometimes you don’t have fixed objectives in that way!

Basically it involves making the Links toolbar on firefox work for you a bit more. If you haven’t heard of Google Browser Sync I suggest you check it out (with the usual privacy disclaimer): its a Firefox plugin (rather than an Internet Explorer one). This is really useful by itself if you use several machines to get on the net (eg one in the office, laptop, desktop at home) but when you start to organise your links toolbar too it really start to become handy.

Click on this screenshot for a better idea of what I am on about:

Google Browser Sync

I use the top level of the links toolbar as links I am looking at the moment type area (these then get dragged to sub folder in my bookmarks – which I have thoroughly organised!). Under the different headings I then have:

  • News sites (BBC etc)
  • Personal (sites I visit most frequently eg
  • a Dev folder (for sites I am developing/working on) this could be called projects
  • To Do folder which you can see in the screenshot – which makes use of the Live Bookmarks featute which lets you take a list of summaries (known as RSS) I am using Ta Dah lists here – a great Web 2.0 app for keeping lists -n below is it in action in more detail:
    Ta-dah lists
  • AEA – my work place has a range of Intranets and other sites (an Intranet project is one of my potential future projects part of which would be consolidation and integration which will hopefully render this one obsolete!)
  • Web Dev Docs – quick access to things like the PHP and MySQL manuals, the Zend Framework docs, various other specs.

Hopefully this is food for thought and you’ve come across a few things here!


So we’ve moved! Blog and Photos are back online!

We have now moved! The relocation to the country is complete! My photos and this blog are currently served from home so they are back too (although they might go offline again from time to time as I sort stuff out…)

Let us know if you haven’t got our change of address and need it.

Expect lots of DIY related articles soon!!! So far I have laid laminate floor in 2 rooms and put up an aerial in the loft and done lots of other bits and pieces – still lots more to do though (eeek!)

Life Travel

Trip to Canada & New York

We are Back! Actually we’ve been been back for a while.

[Edit] Pictures are up – here:

Notes and pictures to follow sometime after we’ve moved (which with any luck will be this Friday!)


Ollie & Kat

Kat and Ollie at Niagara Falls

Life Random Thoughts

Online Communities could provide a data source for Artificial Intelligence?

Facebook tagging - picture of me with some former colleagues

Heres a random thought pattern I had today – could Internet content one day be used a massive database for Artificial intelligence? Sure Google search or Wikipedia could provide facts etc but what about tagging friends on Facebook? In the future could a computer based system start to identify who people are in real life from this? (Think Terminator!)

I am aware that there is already face recognition on devices such as web cams (that can track your movements around the room for example) and also for CCTV systems (back at Essex Uni I was told about a research project for a system that could identify known thieves and track them through retail stores). But I am thinking more about an AI system using the richer content that is coming online to connect more stuff together. Also on this thought pattern is a reoccuring thought pattern that I’ve had since Uni and learning about Object Orientated Programming and Database relationships – representing the world as structured objects in a Virtual Reality type application (think Second life combined with Google Earth / 3D Live Maps and real world data on everything).

There is also a more real and here and now threat from this – the erosion of privacy which is obviously a topic of concern at the moment as a downside to all this Web 2.0 / community site shenanigans. So more likely is the fact that unfriendly strangers could use this information and photos to find you / scam you etc.


One of life’s unanswered questions – How many packs of laminate floor can you get in a Renault Clio?

…. more than 18 it would seem! I could barely push the trolley out of the shop it was so heavy, when I got to the car I thought hmm maybe they aren’t all going to fit in. When we bought flooring before Kat & I fit about 8 packs in the old clio but this time I was alone I think the new model is a fair bit bigger – the bikes seems to go in it much easier anyway. Note that you can remove part of the back seats which helps fit them in!

18 packs of floor in the Clio!

Anyway thought this post might help / inspire owners of smaller cars to try getting larger items home in the car.

Note – I accept no responsibility for the damage to your car if you try this – the back of my car sagged quite a bit under the weight so I wouldn’t recommend driving far (I only had to go 3 miles home).

Hmm maybe this is a weird blog post – oh well at least its not about IT for once… 🙂


Louise and Gary’s Wedding

So I finished L&G’s Wedding DVD before they got back from honeymoon! Which I was amazed about – as it took me a full 2 years to edit my wedding DVD!!!Louise and Gary’s Wedding DVD Cover

The photographers blogged about the day and have included some nice pictures here

I have created a photo gallery for anyone with pictures of the day: Feel free to register and upload photos to it.