# Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Cake (a subject close to my heart!!)

Why do people say "You can't have your cake and eat it" - of course you can!!
 
The trick is to eat your cake and have it...
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# Monday, 22 May 2006

Microsoft stupid, Apple stupid!!

Those avid readers of this blog (hello) will eagerly remember the New Mac entry, where I mentioned that I bought an Apple Mac. Well, after a few teething problems with the wrong operating system, I finally got hold of a copy of OSX, the latest and greatest version of the Mac OS. I looked forward to an installation and usage free from the stupid usability issues that bug Windows users. Boy was I wrong!!

Stage One - Installation time
A few years ago, when Windows NT was the buzz, I reckoned that it took about 20-25 minutes to do a full installation from scratch. XP takes a little longer, but not significantly. I was expected OSX to be about the same... I inserted the CDs and started the machine, to be greeted with the "Installing OSX" screen. I was a little, erm, surprised when it told me that the instalaltion was expected to take two and a half hours!!! Yup, about four times as long as it takes to install Windows!! Strike One.

Current score, Microsoft one, Apple nil.

Stage Two - Registering the OS
Practically as soon as the install had begun, it asked me for loads of personal information so that it could register my details with Apple. Wait a sec, I don't want Apple to have my personal details, they're personal. It seems that Apple don't care about this and insist that you supply them. You can't click the "Next" button to go onto the next stage on installation unless you fill out all of those boxes. The only consolation here was that it assured me that my country would be used later to localise the installation.

Being the awkward type, I decided not to give them any real information, and entered useful tings like "a" for my name. I gave my real country as I was looking forward to having it do all my regional setting for me. I clicked "Next" to continue, not impressed that I had basically been forced into supplying info that they don't really have any right to demand. By contrast, Microsoft make registering an option, and they don't ask you until the operating system is fully installed. Strike Two.

Current score, Microsoft two, Apple nil.

Stage Three - Localisation
Computers are very sophisticated nowadays, and they will recognise your locale and modify the interface accordingly. Thus, a French person, even when living in the UK, with the time zone set to Uk can still have the interface in French. Jolly clever eh?

Whilst watching the OSX installation out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that it was preparing the Traditonal Chinese localisation for me. How super!! Whilst wondering about this, I noticed that it then prepared a Spanish localistion as well. To my amazement, it spent over 30 minutes preparing loads of localisations for languages that I cannot speak. Apart fomr the gross waste of time, this was after it had assured me that my choice of country (see above) would be used to set localisation for me!! Needless to say, when the installation was finally complete, I still had to set some of the localisation stuff myself. Strike Three and out.

Current score, Microsoft three, Apple nil.

Conclusion
Windows may have its faults, but Mac OSX isn't so brilliant either!! Shame that neither of them seems to have bothered watching real people use their installation procedures. They might have picked up a few tips!! Maybe I'll send them this entry... or maybe not!!

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# Thursday, 18 May 2006

The sad tail of Biffed II

Well, I came downstairs this morning to hear a funny noise form the fish tank filter. On closer inspection, it turned out that our fish had been excavating once again, and had piled up so much gravel in front of the cave where the filter sucks out water, that the filter couldn't actually get anything through.
 
Whilst digging out the cave, I noticed one of the new fish cowering inside the cave. I'm not sure if the others (ie Biffer) tried to bury it alive, or it just got stuck inside during a digging frenzy.
 
Either way, when it emerged from its confinement, I could see that it had been pretty badly beaten up. Most if its fins were gone, and it had red marks around its head. Poor thing looked very soory for itself. To add insult to injury, whilst it was trying to swim (which was obvously very difficult for it), other fish came over and tried taking bites out of it!! As if its injuries weren't enough, it was being eaten alive
 
Eliyohu looked at it and shouted "It's been Biffed again!!" I pulled it out and put it in a net, floating in the tank. That way it was still in the same water, but was protected from the others. I'm not sure if it will survive though
 
I'm glad I'm not a fish!!

P.S. added later...
Sad to say, Biffed II didn't make it until supper time. I found him floating belly-up later on, so I did the decent thing and bunged him down the waste disposal!!
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# Wednesday, 17 May 2006

New fish today

We got some more fish today. Being that our fish are the "tough guy" type, who seem to enjoy bashing each other (or some of them do anyway, the rest have to tolerate it), we occasionally lose the odd one or two.

We took a trip to see Graham the fish man and bought some Maylandia Estherae German Double Reds. Pretty impressive name
for a fish eh?

Well, after putting the new fish in the tank, I sat back to watch them swimming peacefully around in calm serenity. Ha ha ha. Biffer swung into action in a matter of seconds. I reckon he had terrorised every one of the new fish, plus most of the old ones in about twenty seconds!!

Ho hum, I wonder how many will make it through the settling in period? It's life on the edge for us fishkeepers you know!!

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Twenty boys and a swarm of greenfly

Yesterday was Lag B'omer, and in keeping with fine old tradition, most of the schools round here had an outing. I went with the boys' school to Roundhay Park in Leeds - where I spent a large amount of my childhood.
 
Despite heavy rain the day before, the weather was warm and sunny. Apart from a 30-minute light shower in the afternoon, we didn't get wet at all. Actually, that's not true, we didn't get wet from above. Severla boys managed to get wet from below by jumping in puddles that were deeper than they thought, or dibbling their toes (complete with socks and shoes) in the lake!!
 
The journey home was mainly memorable for the huge swarm of greenfly that decided to come home with us. I have never seen so many in one are in one time, and I can honestly say that I would be happy if I never saw that many again!! Bleah, they got everywhere!!
 
All in all, a good day out
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# Tuesday, 09 May 2006

New Mac!!

I got a Mac today. No, I don't mean a Big Mac, I mean an Apple Macintosh computer, like my big bro has, only not as new and posh as his.

I know, it's a toy, but I have a slight justification for it as I need it (well, vaguely need it anyway) for testing the web sites that I write. There are a couple of browsers only available on the Mac, so it seemed like a reasonable enough justification.

Dontcha just lurve EBay and the thrill of impulse buying?

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# Sunday, 07 May 2006

The big cycling trip

Well, having got new bikes, we just had to try them properly. So, I picked up the boys and two of their friends from school, and set off to Sankey Valley Park, near Warrington. This is a great place for cycling as it has loads of decent paths, many by the side of the Manchester Ship Canal (home to several ducks and not much else), as well as a bit off slightly off-road terrain. Just right for a first trip.

We took a large bottle of cold juice, as it was a hot day, as well as a few biscuits. It turned out that Motty and Zevvy (the two friends) had brought four large bags of some very tasty snack. We had a good cycle, stopped for a feast, then cycled back, stopping only on a bridge over the motorway to wave at some cars. A few even waved back

Next stop - Everest!!

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# Friday, 05 May 2006

New bikes ;-)

Aryeh Yehuda was to do a cycling proficiency course at school, so we had to drag his bike out of the cellar, where it had festered over the winter, and see if it was up to the task. It was, but he had grown a little too big for it. A new bike was in order.

So, Friday afternoon, like I've nothing better to do a few hours before Shabbos, he and I went off to the bike shop. Well, you can't come out without a little something can you? Apart from the spiffy double-suspension bike that he chose, I got myself a rather nice mountain bike to replace the one that was, erm, "borrowed" from our succah last year.

I also succumbed to the temptation to buy a bike computer that tells you how fast you are going, how far you've been, your average speed, max speed, trip time, etc. I don't know how I ever cycled all these years without one of these!!

So, having brought them home, I presented Eliyohu with Aryeh Yehuda's old bike, which pleased him no end. Aryeh Yehuda cycled off to his shiur, and Eliyohu and I decided to go for a quick once around Heaton Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, just right for cycling.

I then realised how depressing the bike computer really is!! You sweat your guts out (if you'll pardon the expression) cycling for absolutely yonks, then you look at the computer and discover that you've only been going about ten minutes and you've cycled a little over three feet!!

Mind you, I did manage 16 miles per hour on the flat, and 24.5 mph downhill on the way back top the park gates, so I was quite chuffed with that. Eliyohu didn't quite manage such speeds, but he was well pleased anyway.

Next project - some real cycling!!

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# Thursday, 04 May 2006

How rude!!

A boa constrictor stuck its tongue out at me. I don't think I've ever had that happen before, and it made a strangely deep impression on me.

I confess that the boa in question was only about 9" long and was on the other side of a piece of glass in a pet shop, but it was a significant experience in my otherwise reptile-free life!!

I wonder what will happen to me next?

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