Thursday, 27 July 2006

Home

I eventually got home through a roundabout route via Putney. I took advantage of the detour to go shopping for food so I have nice fresh stuff to make dinner. There's always a silver lining.

Fried Train

Apparently, a train was struck by lightning at Gunnersbury so I'm stuck at Earl's Court with no train home. Great!

Monday, 24 July 2006

Regular Wages

With my current contract, I now have a good enough cash flow to pay myself wages every month. I got the hang of it now and it’s all becoming routine. The next step is to get VAT registered. In the UK, under a certain annual limit in turnover, you don’t need to be VAT registered but I am now approaching this limit so it’s time to do it.

Friday, 21 July 2006

Broken Tube Part 2

The District line out of Gunnersbury is broken again this morning. And trains out of Chiswick Park are nowhere to be seen. This is beyond ridiculous.

Monday, 17 July 2006

Something that just happened to me

A dear Italian friend of mine sent me this picture. You will agree with me that I have to share it with the rest of the world. Enjoy!

Friday, 14 July 2006

Mobile Mail

I've just been accused of showing off with my Mobile Blog entry. Although, I can rightfully be accused of that on occasion, it was not the intention in this case: I was just trying it out. But this brings the question: why does it sound like I'm showing off? Because I am sending an email from my mobile phone? If this is the case then let's have a look at how anybody can do the same. To send an email from a mobile phone, you need:

  • an Internet Service Provider,
  • a phone line,
  • a handset that comes with an email application that supports standard protocols such as SMTP for sending and POP3 or IMAP for receiving.

The Internet Service Provider

If you have Internet access at home, you already have an Internet Service Provider. If you don't, you mobile phone company should be able to provide the service.

The phone line

If you have a mobile phone with a SIM card, you have a phone line that you can use. In practice, it would be preferable to have a 3G contract with an operator like 3 but it is not essential and all other UK operators now offer 3G anyway.

The Handset

The handset is the complicated part. The first handset that ever had email capability was the Nokia 9000 Communicator, a large brick that appeared in 1996 and was targeted at professionals. Such a service was not available on smaller handsets because it required a large screen and the ability to send and receive data. With the arrival of camera phones and 3G, most modern handsets are now technically able to support an email application. You just need to choose one that has. You could get a handset like mine, a Nokia 6234, which is the Vodafone custom version of the Nokia 6233, and is free when taken with a contract. If you want something more complicated, there are tons of alternatives but you might have to pay for them.

After that, it is just a matter of configuring the phone properly and your mobile operator will be happy to help you do this. Getting email on your mobile is easy. Do you need it? Maybe. Maybe not. Do I need it? Not really but I'm a geek and it's fun to be able to send email from anywhere.

Mobile Blog

Now that I've got an email enabled phone and the email blog feature enabled, I can blog from anywhere!

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Google Goodies

Google Earth is now available for Mac OS-X and Linux and you can also have Google Maps on your mobile. I just downloaded both and it works a treat!

Update: and if you want to have fun with a simple 3D design piece of software, try SketchUp.

The Headbutt Videos

After the headbutt song come the headbutt videos courtesy of The Register.

The Headbutt Song

All is well in France and everybody's taking the mickey out of Zidane for his headbutt, in a nice way: as demonstrated by the headbutt song. Genius!

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Nokia's Betrayal

I got a brand new phone today. It's a Nokia 6234, to replace the Nokia 6230 I lost. It is a metallic grey 3G phone that is full of functionality and mostly works the same way as all other Nokia phones I've had before. Except for one crucial thing: they changed the power adapter! The new one is the same shape as the old one but smaller, meaning that the half dozen Nokia chargers I've got at home don't fit anymore. If there was one thing you could rely on in mobile telephony all those years, it was the size and shape of a Nokia power cord.... No more... Traitors! If anybody has adapters from old to new, I'll buy a dozen.

Enjoy The Silence

Being without a mobile phone for the last few days has shown me how much I relied on it. A typical example is Monday morning. I was going to Birmingham for a business meeting, with a few colleagues. As I had only been to the Birmingham office once before, I was unsure of how to get there from the station and was relying on meeting my colleagues on the train. But without a mobile phone and its address book, I couldn't contact them. Nor did they know that I couldn't do so because they didn't know I had no phone anymore. I eventually found them and it all went well but it was slightly frustrating to be unable to contact them as easily as I was used to.

Anyway, during those few days I have enjoyed the silence. It now comes to an end as I have a new phone.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Lost Mobile

I lost my mobile phone over the weekend so I will need a new one. The most annoying is not to lose the phone itself but to lose the numbers that were stored in its memory.

Disgrace

Is a word that can be applied to Zinedine Zidane tonight. Idiot is another. I am glad Italy won.

Thursday, 6 July 2006

Italy, here we come!

The France-Portugal game wasn't as good as the Germany-Italy one but France did what it needed to do and booked a place in the final on Sunday. What a way for Zidane to end his career: a world cup final! Whatever the result, it's an amazing achievement. I hope the game will be better than tonight though, a bit more like the one yesterday if possible. My theory is that France were extremely careful and tense playing Portugal considering how the Portuguese players have a tendency to dive to get the opposition booked, as colourfully explained on the BBC web site: If Pauleta is going to dive any more in this match, he might as well put on a snorkel and fins.

But the best part is what Piccadilly Circus looked like after the event.

Piccadilly Circus after French semi-final victory

Piccadilly Circus after French semi-final victory

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

120 Minutes of Passion

The Italy-Germany semi-final tonight was by far the best game of the World Cup. Absolutely incredible! No Hollywood director could have written a more exciting script, with the game decided in the 119th minute. This is what football should be like. Both teams were absolutely amazing and, even though the 2-0 final score is a bit unfair on Germany, Italy really deserved to win. This was a beautiful show. Thank you Italy, thank you Germany for 120 minutes of magic.

France, Portugal: please take note.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Fruity Dragon

I caused mayhem at the Tesco till at Hammersmith tube station the other day. Going through the fruit and veg section, I saw this unusual bright magenta fruit called Dragon Fruit, originating from Viet-Nam. Of course, I had to buy one to try out. The guy at the till was quite nonplussed, having no idea what it was and how much it cost, thus causing major delays until one of his colleagues got him the code for it. Luckily, seeing the fruit, the bewildered face of the cashier and hearing my explanation (I found it colourful and funny so I decided to buy one), the other customers who were waiting behind or going through other tills were rather amused. One of them even asked me several times to confirm what it was so that he could buy one next time round.

Dragon Fruit, whole

Dragon Fruit, whole

Back home, it was time to taste my hard bought delicacy. I cut it in two, to discover a white centre full of black seeds.

Dragin Fruit, open

Dragon Fruit, open

I grabbed a spoon and dug in. The texture is very much like kiwi. The taste is very subtle, virtually non-existent.

Dragon Fruit, half eaten

Dragon Fruit, half eaten

Result: 10/10 for strangeness, colour and potential to cause confusion; 0/10 for taste.

France or Portugal?

Following my entry about team support for the semi-finals, I asked the question to friends and colleagues. Interestingly enough, the answers are mixed: some say they will support Portugal, others say they will support France. At least nobody is indifferent.

Support

Now that England is out of the World Cup, who will the England fans cheers in the semi-finals? We have a choice of Germany or Italy on Tuesday and France or Portugal on Wednesday. I would guess that the average England fan might cheer Italy rather than Germany on Tuesday. However, on Wednesday, I just don't know. Portugal are the ones to blame for England not being in the semi-finals so you would think they would cheer France. Then again, that thought is anathema to an Englishman: a real Englishman can cheer anyone but France. So it will be a case of keeping a stiff upper lip and cheering the valiant enemy that brought them down over the weekend.

Note that those are the same people who complain when the Scots say they will cheer anyone but England.

Mine's Bigger Than Yours

Size fever has been taking over London in the past few weeks. Everywhere you go you can see adverts that look like they could be for some XXX porn movies: 40 inch here, 52 inch there. Whoever's got the biggest plasma telly is where football fans will go and spend money on beer, cheering their favourite team.