Hello Neighbour

If you are on this site after I dropped a flyer through your door then… Hi! 🙂

As you can see, this site hasn’t been updated in quite some time. Don’t hold it against me.

Thank you for reading my leaflet and I look forward to hearing from you.


Virgin Media or Sky?

Recently a friend asked me if I would recommend Virgin Media.  I gave him a honest reply as I have been a customer for quite a while but I am quite proud of the final paragraph…

IMHO the Virgin TiVo box blows the pants of Sky+ but most of all…

Sky is run by Rupert Murdoch, someone so corrupt that he allowed staff to hack into the phones of missing school children and then paid them millions to keep quiet about it.

Virgin is run by Richard Branson who Kite surfs to work where he tries to make it cheaper for people to go into space and easier for people to donate money to charity.

Virgin Money Press Junket

Back in December 2011 the Virgin Group did a very obscure blog post asking for bloggers, tweeters and YouTubers. Needing a good excuse to get out the (home) office nowadays I figured an evening out would be nice.

Yes, I know this is free publicity for them but hey, if I’m going to publicise any large corporation then I can’t think of anyone better than Virgin (comments in the box below please)! Virgin Money Giving were very helpful to us when organising the Goodwood Roller Marathon.

Anyway, the evening was very nice, free soup, got to say hello to Richard Branson and treated to a 270 degree projection on three sides of a courtyard building. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to move back far enough to get it all in frame and had to shoot in portrait which isn’t ideal but you get the idea :-p

You can see the professionally shot video (from across the street I may add) here.

Maybe still not as good as the Gadget Show projection though, that had more 3D 😉

Waving goodbye to IE6 from your website

Website designers have been swearing at Internet Explorer v6 for many years.  Now, Microsoft themselves have said enough is enough and are trying to encourage IE6 users to upgrade.  There are some alternative ways to advise your website visitors to upgrade though.

This week Microsoft launched The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown to try and encourage users of their old Internet Explorer 6 product to upgrade to a newer version.  This idea is nothing new.  With many sites such as YouTube, Google & Facebook already officially not supporting IE6 a number of sites already include a notification to IE6 users.

I tend to think that any people still using IE6 do not have the ability to upgrade their own machine.  It may be locked down by the IT department or even a machine setup for a technophobe by another family member.  Whatever the reason I do agree that they should be alerted to the issue but if you are changing your browser.  Why not change it to something other than IE.  Give the user the choice to use any browser.  That is the whole point of the web and web standards.

So, here is my rundown of IE6 browser alerts for your website…

The Internet Explorer 6 Countdown

The banner is only shown in English as a picture (not good for accessability) and only redirects to Microsoft’s site for users to download IE9. The code is pulled from Microsoft’s website each time which means they control the banner.

IE6 Update

A very cheeky little banner site that makes it look like the upgrade from IE6 to IE9 is a security upgrade! The big advantage of this is that you can download and install the code on your site. Quicker for site visitors and more secure.

Browser Upgrade

A very nicely put together banner which is only let down by being old and still recommending the user upgrade to IE7! While IE is recommended first the banner also suggests other browsers such as Opera, Firefox, Safari or Chrome. The site does allow you to download the code yourself too and I’m sure you can change the references of IE7 to IE9

Update Your Browser

Multi language, multi browser recommendation and a nice landing page that explains to visitors why they should be upgrading. Only negative point is the banner is called from an obfuscated JavaScript file on a their website which some may see as a security issue.

IE6 No More

My recommendation and the one I’ll be implementing on my sites. Used by a number of large sites already , the code is longer but only pulls images from it’s own server which you can easily copy to your site.

Whatever you choose lets all hope that IE6 dies soon!

Carry your PIN number in your wallet

I have a confession to make.  I have been carrying the PIN number to my credit cards in my wallet for the last five years!

In my wallet I have a slip of paper right next each of my cards that looks like this…

6 9 2 1 6 2 4 0 1
8 7 9 1 7 2 3 2 4
7 7 2 8 1 7 2 0

… I can remember a four letter word easier than four random numbers and have challenged many people to guess my pin number from it.  e.g. if the four letter word was MOVE then the PIN would be 1286 and if the four letter word was CHIP then the PIN would be 2013.

I cryptographic terminology this is classed as a one way hash, a terrible idea for encrypting data on the internet but for data as small as 4 numbers it works quite well.  4 numbers only gives (10^4 =) 10000 combinations at the best of times although there are things that can be done to try and break it.

If we take a standard dictionary file (/usr/dict/words) there are 1778 four letter words that could be used. Based on the example matrix above that equates to 907 different PIN numbers. While this is still too many to guess at random we are down a long way from the 10000 original possibilities. I’ll let you decide if that is an acceptable risk.

It’s worth noting that while most people would probably use a four letter dictionary word there’s nothing from stopping you using things like “A DOG” or “I RUN” or even a pass phase “Am I Nicely Secure?” = AINS.

What are your views? Foolish or clever? Are there any other wallet tricks that people know?

Everything is a Remix

If you haven’t already seen it I would encourage you all to check out Kirby Ferguson‘s excellent video series Everything is a Remix.

I have been helping Kirby source some of the video footage and edit some of the reference material that he has used which has been a great honour.

Parts 1 & 2 are embedded below but do keep an eye on his site for parts 3 & 4 as they come out later this year.

Everything is a Remix Part 1.

Everything is a Remix Part 2.

Guildford Pecha Kucha #3

On 15th Feb 2011 I attended a Pecha Kucha night organised by Simon Strong of Human Zoo in Guildford.

Pecha Kucha is an excellent format where presenters have to talk over 20 slides that auto advance every 20 seconds. The beauty of Pecha Kucha is that you can fit a large number of presentations/talks into one evening without it feeling crammed or letting your brain explode. This time there were talks about many things including satellites, film making and Japanese culture. It wasn’t until the day that I realised two friends, Benjamin Ellis and James Firth were presenting there that day too.

Simon will be organising more of these events in the future and I recommend checking them out.

Here are a few pictures from that evening…

N.B. This is a backdated post as I take some of the things I have been doing elsewhere on the interwebs and add them to this site 🙂

2 years of Flickr pictures

Almost exactly 2 years ago I made a concerted effort to start taking more pictures. Not of anything in particular but instead of leaving my camera in the car I would actually carry it with me and use it!

Now Pummelvision has come along where you can make videos out of your Flickr album and I must admit it makes a nice video.  At least it does for me, every picture is a memory.

I particularly like the music they used too.  It’s the same music for all videos and seems to match them all perfectly.

“I Love My Rollerblading…”

I know, I know, it’s “Inline Skating” and not “Rollerblading” but I wasn’t going to argue (Rollerblades are to Skating what Hoovers are to Vacuums, it’s a brand name).  Anyway!…

A few months ago the local newspaper did a shout out via their twitter feed looking for people for their “I Love My” section.  Always looking for free publicity I replied back saying that I’d be happy to do something about my skates and skating in the local area.  We swapped details and I never heard any more, I figured they had dropped me for someone more exciting.

Last week, I received a phone call from the Surrey Hants Star Courier asking if I still wanted to do it, Of course I jumped at the chance.  Unfortunately I had now committed to being attacked for Children In Need and so the photo shoot was going to be me with full on face fuzz!

Click for full size

Not a bad interview at all.  I’ll never be able to get them to add everything in, I had talked about Goodwood Roller Marathon and the Winter Sessions at Sandhurst but they mentioned Cskate and the Arena so I’m happy 🙂