Dec 31

50 Foods to eat before you die

One of the programmes this morning was 50 things to eat before you die, a viewers poll by the BBC. Here’s the top 10 – not very imaginative are we…

1. Fresh fish
2. Lobster
3. Steak
4. Thai food
5. Chinese food
6. Ice cream
7. Pizza
8. Crab
9. Curry
10. Prawns

I’ve tried all of these plus most of the other 40. They illustrated the number one with a visit to Doyles, in Watson Bay, Sydney. I was lucky enough to visit last year, and fully endorse the recommendation – excellent fish in one of the best placed restaurants in the world – here’s the view from the restaurant.


Dec 31

Family History

For a few years I’ve been tracking down my family history; it’s been a very slow process and I usually spend only a few days a year on it. Yesterday was one of those. Usually I go to the Family Hostory centre, which is about an hour away, but decided to try the National Archives, which is about 1 mile away. Had some great success looking up a lot of census data so got a few new leads. The Archives are a fascinating place, holding documents from around the year 900, all of which are available for anyone to see – so you could see the Domesday Book. The Archives get into the news this time every year as they release records under the 30 years rule, (a rule that is slowly dissappearing under the Freedom of Information Act). All if have to do now is update all my records with the new information.

Dec 28

Does my bum look big in this?: an academic study

Dr Lisa Macintyre, of Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, has started an academic study to establish what combination of cut and material do make bums look big…and therefore advise clothes designers how to minimise the effect. Volunteers will be photographed in lots of different clothes before the photos get assessed by an expert panel

.“This study will provide, for the first time, detailed and usable information that would enable designers to make the clothes that help women make the most of their natural assets.”
As a first instalment, Dr Macintyre promises to reveal how different styles of trouser can affect the appearance of bottom size. This should be published in May.

So does this mean we could see a new piece of information in clothes labels in the future – trhe bum enhancement indicator?

Dec 27

Brothers-in-law and Computers

The wonders of family life! Spent the last 5 hours buying computers with the brothers-in-law and then ripping and transferring multiple CDs and MP3 files into portable devices which have been bought by other relatives who do not own computers to allow them to get music on the devices. I start charging very very soon.

Dec 26

BlogPulse Review

Blogpulse have put up it’s review of the year, trying to summarise the trends in blog posts over the year. In their top people, they’ve listed Harry Potter at number 1; this fictional person is joined in their list by Donnie Darko and James Bond as people that were most blogged about.

The trend pages picked up on major debates, such as evolutution vs Intelligent Design vs Flying Spaghetti Monster. There’s a slight American bias of course; looking at the sports trends, I wonder how many of the football references they picked up were actually to the type of football most of the rest of the world refers to, aka soccer.


Dec 26

Post Christmas

That’s the day over for another year; the rest of the rest of the week will be spent in that perculiar limbo between holidays, not at work and still doing the family visits.

Yesterday, my nearly 5 year niece declared that she now likes me, as she can now speak ‘adult talk’. When she coould only speak baby talk, she did not like me as we had nothing to talk about! So yesterday we had a good day, we watched Doctor Who together, I introduced her to the Tablet laptop and we played Playstation games. So she’s started on the right track to cope in this modern life.

Dec 24

Commercial Blogging

A good post by Gia on the frustrations of doing commercial blogging. She’s publishing a blog for a new Danny Boyle film called Sunshine and has to face the publicity machine every single time she wants to post pictures. It’s an ‘official’ blog, so she has to play by the rules. Not so much on her own blog, where she’s posted pictures that are currently doing the rounds after they were released elsewhere.

The explanations for the number of approvals she needs to get to publish anything demonstrates why it is not always possible to ‘just do it’ when it comes to corporate blogs, when just doing it can lead to a whole load of trouble. But then again, just doing it and reducing the red tape is the only way such sites will ever have any real meaning. I read the Sunshime blog from interest to see how an official blog is being attempted, not because the content itself is interesting, as all the restrictions that Gia faces obviously constrain having good content.

Dec 24

Family Time

Up to visit the family for a few days, so blogging may be light…or may not be dependong on how much time I’ll need to escape from chaos ;o). Only a few final gifts to find, and get everything wrapped up and then I’m ready to face the festivities.

Dec 22

Random Acts in Book Form

I missed this the other day, but I see that Tom Reynolds, the London EMT, has a book deal. As well as publishing in solid form, the book will also be released online under a Creative Licence

The idea of publishing it under a Creative Commons license was my idea. I think that the Friday Project are incredibly cool and forward looking to let me do this. Publishing under this license will hopefully sell more copies, and let me feel like I’m not selling out.


Dec 22

Women in Technology buy technology

A survey conducted by Women in Technology of around 1200 current and former members of the WiT group found that they like buying technology and gadgets for Christmas presents. The top 10 were:

(1) Digital Camera,
(2) iPod,
(3) iPod Accessories,
(4) Laptop Computer,
(5) HDTV,
(6) Videogame Console,
(7) Camera Phone,
(8) Desktop Computer,
(9) Smartphone
(10) Handheld Videogame Player.

The survey is picked up by the BBC here. They pick up the point about women being the silent influencer behind many joint purchases.

Women are the silent majority when it comes to influencing and making consumer electronics purchases.

They influence around 80% of consumer electronics purchases, according to figures from manufacturers and trade groups such as the Consumer Electronics Association.

But until recently the industry did not pay attention to this.

And we can see the changes from the consumer electronics industry – a colleague at work has a pink phone which appears to make a feature of having a biorythm tracker. But the women’s market does not just mean colouring everything pink; designing smaller and lighter goods can be important (just look at Maryam‘s experience with a new laptop) but also lowering the entry barriers – reduce the fiddleliness in setting things up. That’s a complaint I’ve heard from friends – too many things needed to get things working, it’s not just turn on and go. Although I have to admit given I’ve seen many men just turn on the stuff and never even attempt to read manuals I’m surprised that it is being bought up as a need for designing for women ;o)

Anyway, back to list. I’d go with the HDTV as first choice for me – and I’ll definitely have to be buying it myself. But why was anyone surprised that women who work with technology buy technology?

Dec 22

Jelly Bean Cascade

One of the agencies sent over a Christmas present to a couple of us at work today – Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. Between the 2 boxes there’s over 1000 beans of multiple colours. All we need now is a decent slope or set of stairs, a good camera and to work out if they can bounce to recreate the Sony Bravia commercial. And of course, an industrial strength vacuum cleaner to clear up the mess.

Posted in fun
Dec 22

The Bar

Recently, my company launched a new website, focused on the US market, called It’s got a few firsts for us such as a portfolio site and a heavy flash interactive site, plus some heavy marketing coming in the new year.

Dec 22

Station Freebie

At Waterloo this morning there was a scrummage around the small team that were handing out free gifts. Joining in, I found that BT were giving away headsets, promoting their VOIP system, BT Communicator. Useful in that you can easily make calls to phones far cheaper than using the ‘landline’ and then it all comes in on one bill. They’re pushing it pretty heavily this Christmas, with a Christmas offer of free calls to 30 countries No mention of other products though ;o)

One set of people who did not seem pleased about the free offer were the station cleaners. The headsets came in largish boxes, which were left scattered around the elevators and were being rapidly cleaned up by a squad of 3.

Dec 22

Singing together

Singing together

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

I went along to the carol service in Parliament Sq, testing the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which bans any demonstrations within a half mile area around Parliament. Over a 100 people (and probably around 15-20 press) sang songs for an hour. The police were not present, A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “We treated the event as a carol service and not as a demonstration so the legislation did not come into play.” Thus demonstrating one of the issues with the Act – what is a deomstration. See BBC and Guardian for more info.

Dec 21

What not to do…

…if you’re running away from security guards after being suspected of being involved in a robbery. Do not, under any circumstances, climb into cage with an annoyed Bengal tiger. The odds of getting out alive are very low, as a this suspect found out.

A criminal suspect on the run ended up being mauled to death by a caged tiger, South African police say.
“The man was involved in a robbery and was chased by security guards,” police spokeswoman Elsa Gerber told the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

“He had nowhere else to go, so he jumped over the zoo fence,” she added.

The police said that the man had tried to escape after he had robbed a couple with a knife.

The tiger had apparently not tried to eat the body.

Nature conservation officials quoted by SABC said the tigers had been fed on Saturday afternoon and were therefore not hungry.

Dec 21


I’ve set up Performancing for Firefox;  an extension to the browser that enables you to publish to multiple blogs form a single interface.   As I publish only to the one, it’s not going to add that much to what I usually do, ecxept for the note saving which is a far more flexible method than how I save draft posts.  The WYSIWYG interface is clear and easy to use, although one drawback at the moment is that I can’t add images directly.

So I publish and then come to the usual interface to upload the image.


Dec 20

Google Zeitgeist

Google releases its review of the year, looking at the trends in searches. In the top gainers of the year, there are 2 cultural references which stand out from the other web/media terms. The first is Leonardo de Vinci, I’m guessing driven from the Dan Bown book and the Spielberg film. The other is Green Day – of course, the increases interest in that band could not have been driven from the mashup album American Edit 😉

They’ve picked a number of different items to highligh… just look at the increase in searches for wiki.


Dec 20

Model Santa

Model Santa

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

The shop round the corner which has had the summer lawn sprinkler outside every day for about the last 18 months (through 2 winters) now has a new attraction. A 5ft singing, dancing Santa that chortles, sings and gyrates to music all day long. Almost everytime I pass it, there’s an adoring crowd.