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Mind Your Mobile Manners!

Posted by Chalky on Jun 22, 2009 in Funny

This is one of a series of videos by iJustine for Intel after a recent survey. Although exaggerated, they are very true to life!

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Prostitution is revolution. You can hate me, until you pay me!

Posted by Chalky on Jun 21, 2009 in Bad Luck, Music, Review

Last.fm Mock PosterI can’t believe it’s been over a month since this actually happened.. Anyway… After two cancelled gigs, on Wednesday 20th May Afternoon I finally ventured down to Nottingham to go and see Cobra Starship. I ended up having to go on my own but I wasn’t going to let this spoil my enjoyment too much.

The journey down to Nottingham was much quieter than I expected was going to be, indeed it only took me 50 minutes to get down there despite the roadworks on the M1 and the fact that the VMSs saying that there was long delays between Junction 27 and Junction 25. There wasn’t any traffic and I was getting off at Junction 26 anyway.

Nottingham greets its visitors by lining the streets with SPECS cameras and Red Traffic Light Camera which makes you feel extremely welcome(!)

The Premier Inn that I was staying in, the Nottingham Centre (Goldsmith Street), was pretty easy to find and was very convenient as it is on the same road as The Rescue Rooms. They were originally meant to be playing Rock City, but ended up in the Resue Rooms instead. This Premier Inn was the most expensive I’ve ever been to (when you include parking which is normally free) and is the first I have been to where you have to surrender your Car Keys. I’m sure I’ll do a more detailed post about it later.It turned out that most of the Cobra Starship Crew were staying in the same hotel.

pit_and_pendulumAfter settling in the hotel, I decided whether or not that, dispite being on my own, I should stick with my original plan for the evening. After mulling it over whilst having a long soak in the bath, I decided that I might as well go for it. So I headed off in search of the Pit and Pendulum Errie Pub. After leaving the Premier Inn, it took me a little while to get my bearings as it’s been nearly a year since I was last in Nottingham. After walking past the, already, queing Cobra Starship fans (it was only 5pm and doors opened at 6:30) I managed to make my way over to Victoria Street, passing by the Hostel that I stayed in for the Paramore gig last year.

They had a 2 for £6(ish) offer on their Seven Deadly Sins Cocktails so I decided to treat myself to a couple before going for their Double Burger with Cheese and Bacon which also included a pint of Fosters, oops! The bar staff were very friendly however the burger was the greasiest thing I have ever eaten! Didn’t stop me polishing it off though!

I headed back to the Resue Rooms where there was now a long queue which remained civilised until it starting pissing it down whereby everyone rushed under the large umberella’s outside. Once in the venue, I noticed how small it is! I’ve only ever been in the other half of the Rescue Rooms and hadn’t been in the Gig bit before.

MiMi SoyaThe first Support Act MiMi Soya from Brighton were OK but really failed to get the crowd going which made them a bit disappointing. I can’t really remember any of the songs they played. During their set, I started getting a tight chest which I first attributed to the drink but promptly decided it was a mini Asthma attack so I had to drag myself back to the Premier Inn, get my keys back for the car and grab my inhaler. I then sat back in the bar for a while with a glass of iced water. A good start to the evening(!).

By the time I’d finished expiring and got back to the Rescue Rooms, MiMi Soya had finished their set and it was the turn of Cash Cash. <CONTENT REMOVED>

Sing It LoudThe final Support Act was Sing It Loud who were by far the most recongnised by the crowd. Indeed, some of the crowd in front of me got so excited that they started jumping up and down and managed to hit me in the face, leaving me with a nosebleed. At which point, I was beginning to think that the evening couldn’t possibly get any worse!

I had never heard them before, nor any of the other Support Acts but I will certainly be looking out for their EPs and Albums as well as Cash Cash. I’ll be looking forward to seeing them again at some point.

Cobra StarshipAt 8:30, it was the turn of Cobra Starship themselves. As soon as they came out on stage, you could tell that the wait was going to have been worthwhile. Everyone at the gig were true fans and all knew the words to every song that was played. They played all of my favourite and was probably, despite the set backs, the most enjoyable gig I have been to.

Cobra Starship apologised for it taking them so long to get back to the UK and are currently working on their third album. I hope it’s not too far away and they get their act together next time round.

The gig ended with Snakes on a Plane from the movie with the same name.

After the gig, I stumbled back to the Hotel and had a drink in the Hotel Bar and then headed up for an early night after battling with the Key Card for the Lift for some time!

¡Viva La Cobra!

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Neglect

Posted by Chalky on Jun 21, 2009 in Random

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been exactly 2 months since I’ve actually posted something here. I make no excuses other than pure laziness. I’ll try and do a run down of things that have happened recently, but there probably isn’t going to be much to say because not a great deal has happened. I’ll try and get some sort of chronological-ness to the posts but it’ll probably just be in the order that I remember things!

I guess it’s time to eat some humble pie as I’m always going on to other people about not updates and/or listing everything they’ve done in on go!

 
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Lord, hear my prayer

Posted by Chalky on Jun 20, 2009 in Church

Oh Lord, hear my prayer
Oh Lord, hear my prayer
When I call, answer me
Oh Lord, hear my prayer
Oh Lord, hear my prayer
Come and listen to me

© (1982) Ateliers et Presses de Taize

 
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The Wonderful World of Reals

Posted by Chalky on May 2, 2009 in Technology

I spotted this XBOX 360 Advert when I had a quick visit to the Last.fm website. It looks into the life of an XBOX 360 Avatar from its point of view. I thought it was quite clever!

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Creating Ringtones for the iPhone

Posted by Chalky on Apr 12, 2009 in Technology

I mainly made this post for myself more than anything so that I can remember how to do it myself. However, I thought it might also be useful to others!

The process only uses iTunes and the File Manager (Finder on a Mac and Windows Explorer on a PC) and therefore does not require the purchase or download of additional software.

I did the process on my iMac running Mac OS X Leopard and iTunes 8.1 (Build 50), however the process would be the same on Windows, however, you need to make sure that Windows is displaying File Extensions in order to be able to do it. To do this, open a Windows Explorer window and go to Tools -> Folder Options:

Windows Explorer Tools Menu

Then, go to the View tab and make sure Hide extensions for known file types is not ticked.

File Options View Menu

Here are the steps for making your own tracks into Ringtones for the iPhone:

1. Go to iTunes -> Preferences:

Step 1

2. In the General tab, click on Import Settings:

Step 2

3. In the Import Settings window, select AAC Encoder on the Import Using drop-down. You can choose any Setting for the Ringtones, I have used iTunes Plus without any problems. I chose this option because this is the setting I use for importing CDs:

Step 3

4. Go to the song you wish to make into a Ringtone and right-click on it and select Get Info. Note where the file is located in the Where field and open a Finder (Windows Explorer in Windows) window to that location:

Step 4

Click on the Options tab.

5. The most important step! The iPhone only supports Ringtones up to 30 seconds in length. If you make the Ringtone longer than this, it will show up in the Ringtones folder of iTunes but will not sync to your iPhone. 

Tick both the Start Time and End Time options and then enter where you would like the track to start (your favourite part of the track, or knock the beginning silence off) and then add 30 second for the End Time:

Step 5

Click OK

6. Right-click on the song and select Create AAC Version:

Step 6

7. Wait for the Track to be converted. A message is shown under Playlists during the conversion:

Step 7

iTunes will show the progress of the conversion in the Status Window:

Step 8

8. Go to the Finder (Windows Explorer) window you opened earlier and you will see an additional .m4a file:

Step 9

If your source file was already an AAC (m4a) file, it will most likely have a (1) next to it, it will also be the smaller of the two files. Copy and Paste this file to a location outside of your Music Library, for example, your Desktop

9. Go back to iTunes and delete the extra file that has been created, you will be able to tell which one it is by the Time field:

Step 10

Click Remove

10. On the next dialog, make sure you select Delete File/Move to Trash/Move to Recycle Bin (depending on your Operating System and location of Music Library) and not Keep File:

Step 11

11. Go back to the file your Copy and Paste’d earlier. Press Enter (on OS X) or F2 (on Windows) to rename the file. Move your cursor to the end of the File Name and delete the a from m4a and replace it with an r to make the file an m4r file. This is the File Extension iTunes uses for iPhone Ringtones:

Step 12

12. The Finder will warn you that you are about to change the File Extension of the file from .m4a to .m4r. Select Use .m4r:

Step 13

A similar message will be displayed in Windows:

 

13. Double-click on the the new .m4r file. This will Import the file into your iTunes Music Library and will be displayed in the Ringtones section of the Library:

Step 14

You can now sync the track over to your iPhone in the Ringtones tab:

Step 15

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Slough

Posted by Chalky on Mar 25, 2009 in Review

Slough Premier Inn MapWhen I first drove up to this Premier Inn, I thought I was coming up to a prison camp. You’re greeted by a great barrier at each end of the complex preventing anyone from getting in or out. There’s CCTV cameras a-plenty and you can’t even get into Reception without a key card or pressing the buzzer and having someone let you in. It was so intimidating that I daren’t take a picture of it for fear of someone jumping out and shooting me on the spot!

After you’ve got over the exterior of the building however, inside, it has to be the nicest Premier Inn that I have stayed in thus far. The reception area was vast compared to any other Travel Inn that I have stayed in, except perhaps one of the Inns near Heathrow Airport. The staff were extremely friendly upon my arrival at stupid o’clock.

There’s quite a few things that were different from the norm in the Premier Inn. Firstly, there is no chain restaurant in the vicinity or attached to the Premier Inn. Instead, the Premier Inn contains its own Bar and Restaurant on the Ground Floor of the building. It wasn’t particularly large and certainly not big enough to house the number of guests the building is capable of. This made me wonder if this was because most guests arrive in the evenings only and don’t dine, or that there was plenty of places to dine nearby. As it was very late when I arrived, I didn’t scope out any restaurants nearby and the bar was already closed. Just as well really because I was too tired to do much of anything.

This Premier Inn uses Key Cards, which are painfully annoying to use when you’re barely awake enough to see let alone wiggle a card in and out of several doors! After going back to Reception and replacing my Key Card (why does the first one never work!?!) I managed to drag myself up to my room on the second floor.

Air Conditioning!The room was somewhat larger than somewhat bigger than some that I have stayed in and the bathroom was also a decent size. The room was equipped with a larger than normal bed, Freeview TV and a Telephone. The most welcome addition to the room that I have never had in any of the Premier Inns that I have stayed in before was an Air Conditioning Unit on the wall! All other Premier Inns that I have stayed in have had a Dimplex Heather attached to the wall near the window with a thermostat unit on the opposite wall. Whilst this is alright in the winter months for most, it’s not very good in the summer or, if you are like me, you can’t sleep when you are too warm. Most other Premier Inns have a desk fan stowed away somewhere but you can’t beat some proper Air Conditioning!

The only fault that I could find with the room was in the bathroom. The sink was built into this rather nice wooden unit. However, the toilet roll was also located inside this unit which may seem nice, but not when it’s built in only 10cm from the ground! I’ll leave you to picture it yourself!

As I had time in the morning, I decided to opt for a Premier Breakfast before I set off. This was held in the Bar/Restaurant bit on the Ground Floor that I mentioned earlier. The breakfast here was all Self Service including the hot food. I tend to like it this way because you can grab exactly what you want, when you want. The breakfast wasn’t bad at all and set me up for the day.

After gaining the Exit Code for the gate to escape from Alcatraz, I did notice that there wasn’t really many eateries around so I think that it was probably the norm to arrive quite late at this Premier Inn and that there wasn’t really a need for a big provision of food and drink and that the Bar/Restaurant was mainly there for Breakfast and maybe a few beverages in the evening before it closes.

Overall, I was very pleased with this Premier Inn, just a bit of a shame about the Prison-like exterior because inside, it’s the best Premier Inn I’ve been in thus far!

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Google Street Stalk!

Posted by Chalky on Mar 23, 2009 in Sheffield, Technology

Since seeing the News Article on the BBC Technology News Website, people have been frantically trying to find themselves on Google Street View. I managed to find Percy the Punto outside my house and after thinking of how it might be possible to find myself in two places at once, I found Clarence the C3 still on the forecourt of the Woodseats Motor Company on Woodseats Road:

Clarence at Woodseats Motor Company

On Friday, my Dad showed me his claim to fame:

Google Street View - DadGoogle Street View - DadGoogle Street View - Dad

A few people have expressed concern over being found on Google Street View. However, I think that it’s not really much of an issue, most faces are either blurred or of too low a quality to distinguish. Unless you saw the Google Street View Car driving by or can remember exactly where you were when it drove by, there’s not a great chance that you’re going to be noticed. But that’s just my opinion.

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Where Does This Remind Me Of…?

Posted by Chalky on Mar 23, 2009 in Work

 

Dogbert the CEO!

Hmmm…. I wonder!

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Google Street View is GO!

Posted by Chalky on Mar 19, 2009 in Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Technology, Work

James found this little gem on the BBC News website today.

Google have made their first set of UK Street View images live including Sheffield and, rather suprisingly, Scunthorpe.

Greenhill Avenue

I noticed that from the photo that I’ve still got Percy the Punto, which dates the Street View car’s visit before 21st July which is when I took delivery of Clarence the C3. However, when being extra sad, I noticed that my friend’s new car is in pride of place on her driveway which narrows down the visit between 18th July and 20th July. Narrowing it down further, one would assume that the area was done on the 18th July because Jill’s car isn’t there, indicating that she would be at work! You will also notice that all the car’s number plates have been blurred out, they have also blurred out people’s faces if they are quite close to the Street View cameras.
As mentioned before, Scunthorpe also features in Google’s lineup of cities that have been Street View’d including where I work:
John Leggott College
It was nice to see it was such a sunny day! From the fact that the Adult Courses Enrolment banner was outside, we think this photograph was taken in September time.
The only little flaw that I did notice is that the disadvatage of it being a nice sunny day is that you actually see the reflection of the Google Street View camera post on the top of the car:
Google Street View Camera
Either way, it’s all pretty cool stuff. Of course, this has already generated some media coverage in terms of people’s privacy. As I mentioned before, people’s faces are already blurred and I don’t really see what the problem is! Admittedly, we did manage to see James’ partner through his bedroom window which was a bit of a suprise!

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