mmmm, cooked breakfast

Made a nice change today, waking up in the morning. Went down for breakfast, life is that much easier when other people are cooking for you, it is also a good motivator to crawl out my pit in the morning. I thought it was important to make the effort and get up for food today seeing as I have rugby training at 2pm. We have our first match in four weeks and to be honest my laziness over Christmas has raised my own concerns over match fitness. What is the chances of a full time smoker and general layabout being able to run for 80mins. I can see me being sick on the touchline.

I've been playing with the new Bloglist and frankly I'm loving what he's done with it. The Recent Feeds section is awesome and is a great to use in conjunction with netvibes. For example, though I have about 17 Thanet blog feeds on a netvibes page I would never have known that Old Ramsgate and Thanet Underground has been adding new material if it hadn't been for the Bloglist. I'm not going to add every feed to my netvibes just in case, but the Bloglist does that for us. member

In view of this I've decided to add the new button that is made available in the promote section. I'll admit that I wasn't altogether happy with the code, but frankly I always find something to moan about so I suggest you all use that mental filter now that I'm sure you all use on banner ads for the rest of the web... Actually, if you really don't like banner ads there is a great Firefox extension that will clean the internet of them for you, its called AdBlock Plus

I'm now getting closer with my oonagi redesign with pretty much only one thing left to do on it, which alas due to my lack of php knowledge I have to place a request to ask someone else to fix for me. Shame really, maybe by the end of this year I'll know what to do, though by the end of this year all the knowledge will probably be out of date anyway!

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 10:04 am, , links to this post

Boy Projects

I'm back in Oxford now and to be honest I'm glad. It was nice to be in Thanet, see old friends, that sort of thing but I'm eager to get on with learning. I didn't really do much more than drink and watch TV in Thanet, being home makes me instantly lazy. I had three boy projects that I wanted to do in my month off...

1. Re-build the Manston Garden Club website. I knocked a really shaky one together a year or so ago and I was never impressed in the slightest with it. I always thought it looked like one of those 'welcome to my webpage' sites (google it). This project I did based on wordpress and its kinda ok now. If you like you can see it at

2. Re-skin and re-organise oonagi. It looks awful at the moment; cluttered, not very user friendly and lots of pointless pages. I have now done most of the design on a test site but I'm still some way from sorting it enough to go live. It will still be based on the e107 system with changes being almost entirely cosmetic. This should give the least jolt to the users who have already been through many changes on the site over the past seven years.

3. Develop Thanet Blog List Build a geographically specific collectively edited news site. Basically a reddit/digg/newsvine for Thanet, as well as being portable to other areas. This will probably be based on a system like Pligg but unfortunately I can't get it to work on my current webhost (they are a little backwards on the technology side) and am going to have to buy more webspace elsewhere. I don't have enough money till February so you'll have to wait I'm afraid. The idea came out of some brainstorming for the new Blog List build. As there were so many new blogs popping up I thought that the current approach, just posting them as blog entries, was restrictive. My 'vision' was that everyone adds new blogs and every gets to vote on whether its and good or not This should help filter out the one-post-wonders as well as letting the average reader quickly find the authoritative blogs. Even better, I wanted the user to have the possibility of having their own account where they can have feeds from their favourites, a little like netvibes, thus saving time from visiting all blogs as well as being able to see at a glance whether there are any new posts. Alas, I couldn't really get it together and quite frankly its not my project any more anyway. I think its current new design is pretty cool and it wouldn't be difficult to get a latest entry feed page on it with all the blogs listed.

So I managed about one and a half out of three projects. Thats not a very good ratio in my eyes. Lots of thoughts, lots of talk but not enough action. At least I'm more productive here in Oxford so hopefully we'll see some more results shortly.

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 11:40 pm, , links to this post

The unicorn gadget

There are some dreamed of gadgets that hold a mythical status. The king of these unicorns of the gadget world has been the much dreamed of iPhone. Everyone knew exactly what it was to be called were this ever to be made, the rumour of the iPhone has been bouncing round for few years now but Apple chief, Steve Jobs, has always denied that they were working on it. Yet yesterday during his keynote speech at MacWorld he announced the long fabled iPhone (I thought he might mention it at the last MacWorld in 2006). I guess it was obvious that it was coming, the market is steamrolling its way towards an integrated in-pocket solution. Another indicator was that Apple had made deals with Motorola previously on the ROKR phone. The clincher for me was when I heard that Kevin Rose ( had said it was coming on his Diggnation podcast (warning; beer swilling geek millionaires). His prediction of a video iPod nano, which was much derided, was spot on the money. Its also worth noting that the news of the iPhone almost gave Digg its own digg-effect with what is now pushing close to 20,000 votes on the product's announcement.

I'm not normally an Apple fan; DRM, closed source built on open source, etc. Aside from that they have always seemed to have an army of brand faithful evangelists which isn't really my bag. But the iPhone is worth sitting up for and paying some attention. For my money, having a full HTML browser is exactly what I've wanted from a phone, so I may end up buying an Apple product after all. This really does look like its going to be the sparkling unicorn that you only hear of in myths.

For a full breakdown of what is going to be on offer, check this engadget article.

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 7:30 am, , links to this post

I had a religious experience

Whilst at work the other day I met many of the members of the Global Generation Church. They do alot of work in the area with the community, infact it is their primary goal as a church. This may be related to the fact that this is a very young organisation (over 30 and you stand out) and so they want to make an impact on the community and get more members, or perhaps they are just good people. They certainly shook my view as to what a church is like, these guys weren't middle England style baking competitions and tea with vicar. Hell, they don't even have a vicar to lead the flock, the task is taken on by a team of shepherds who are as much leading themselves as others.

So is this a good thing? Should it be down to a church to provide youth clubs as well as providing advice on drug use and sexual health? Is it because of the gaping hole in public services that these groups feel compelled to set up these services or is it because organisations like Global Generation set up these services that our elected bodies feel they now don't have to deal with these social issues?

Meeting these guys gave me a new found respect and hope for Christian organisations but in my mind it still raises some troubling questions about society.

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 4:27 am, , links to this post

Pt 1/2

My recent general lack of internet has severely severed what I am able to do on my Christmas projects. Our house in Manston sits outside the Thanet wired broadband catchment area. Of course there is always a workaround. For us the answer is wireless broadband beamed in through a toaster styled receiver attached to the side of the house from up near the Uni campus. We were with a company called SoBroadband from Rainham but alas they went into some kind of liquidifidation and was subsequently taken over by VFast from Ashford. They all seem very nice so we don't really mind that their temporary transmitter (put up for Christmas) keeps being blown down by the high winds we've been having of late.
projects, broadband, sobroadband, vfast, manston

Christmas was turned out well considering. It was my first without my father and his brother, both having died earlier in 2006, assuming I've not mentioned it before. We went down to that side of the family in Dorset and frankly it was generally pretty good fun. My cousins are all come of drinking age and so it was a good fun starting from almost as soon as I arrived. Just got to get them to move off the lager onto some good ales.
christmas, family, dorset

Friday the 29th of December was showtime at the Lido, Margate. Evil Elvis were playing with support from Black Static Transmission rinsing out a Christmas set in the last Plan9 show of the year. 'This is almost like Christmas with the family' I explained to my friend Danny as I talked him into coming. 'Your not sure that you really want to go but you know your going to have awesome fun when you get there'. He succumb, but frankly I think he was lured by the Elvis, a now almost annual event of \m/Rock\m/ and Roll. I played in the 2000/2001 NYE show and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the first. Anyway, loads of others made the same pilgrimage and a very cool night was had by all with lots of drinking and dancing. Even Danny had came out grinning, if not a little worse for wear which meant we had to get out the taxi a little early (if thats not the mark of a good night, I don't know what is?!)
evilelvis, blackstatictransmission, plan9, lido, margate

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 9:37 pm, , links to this post

Pt 2/2

Two days later and its New Years Eve and I was working. I'll admit that this was a night that I wasn't looking forward to. I always feel this night of all nights is the biggest of disappointing nights of the year. There again, I think I can just be a misery sometimes, which was something I did well on this night. I did have some fun though, there were nine of us working upstairs around one till, a night of continual weaving but sooo busy that the evening flies. I like work to be busy :). This bar dance was set to a soundtrack of the Sharpees who played better than the last time I saw them, though I have to admit they are still not one of my favourites. In all honesty though it would have to be one hell of a band for me to have a covers band as one of my favourites... and at least they didn't play Mustang Sally! The shift finished at some ungodly hour, so we went on to a party in Margate in the home of **On The Rag zine**. It was a house gig but unfortunately we missed the bands, new boys 'Cubs' and one of my favourite locals 'We Are Carnivores', due to time. Shame really, I would have put up with the bleeding eardrums you get in house gigs for those two.
nye, newyearseve, work, sharpees, cubs, wearecarnivores, ontherag, ramsgate, margate

I recieved a letter from the court service... fear.. had they really found me?! I slowly opened the envolope and pulled out the pink paper... jury duty! Wuh?! How terribly exciting, though I have had to defer though due to school... erm, not sure I can talk about that, if not then I'll just edit this post ^^

Luckily I'm getting a good few shifts while I'm here, lots of last min calls but thats fine by me. One of my more recent shifts has been real relaxed but I'm starting to be aware of a necessity of a more appropriate part time job. Not sure exactly what that is at the moment but its certainly something I need to think about. Answers to 'life, the universe and everything' on a postcard to 42 Hitchikers Way...
work, career,

Well there is a summary of the past few weeks in an entry that probably takes as long to read. Hopefully once our interwebulation connection is rectified I can summarise my return to Thanet in more bitsize pieces.

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 9:27 pm, , links to this post