Back on the bus

Don’t worry, I will tire of the marvel that is bus-based blogging soon. Well mentioning it at least.

Homewards now, thinking sweet bus-bound thoughts of pasta, of comfy chairs and of sweet sleep. Really fancy a good long sleep for a while, maybe a few days.

Starting to think about Christmas and next year now. We’re hoping that we will get over to Norway to see my dad in the spring. Slightly lost for ideas of what to do for a summer holiday, maybe that is just too far ahead at the moment.

On the bus

So I can now write blog posts on the way to work. The iPhone is truly a thing of wonderment. Every day I seem to find something new for it that can potentially damage my productivity slightly.

It also is helping to up my social status. Yesterday I filled out a survey online about my iPhone, and at the end I was asked “how many people live in your house,excluding servants?” I’ve never been asked if I had staff, so clearly I’m moving up in the world.

Morecambe and Wise…and Atari

A set of early 80s TV commercials promoting the excitement of playing Atari VCS. You have Morecambe and Wise, and also in one instance Trevor Brooking. So many things I love brought together in a few short clips. And Trevor Brooking. See them echo the I’m a Mac/I’m a PC with the boring technophobe Ernie brought into the word of gaming by the savvy Eric. See how much better it is when you unite the two worlds, rather than compete with each other. No need to respond with confusing Jerry Seinfeld commercials here, it’s all clear. Well except that once he’s got Ernie hooked, it leaves him free to do some snogging.

The Star – Oxford Pub Reviews

The Star is a proper Cowley Road-ish indie pub. Quite a few of these have disappeared over the past few years, but the Star is the same as ever thankfully. Some rock too, Iron Maiden and AC/DC playing during my most recent visit.

Opens nice and early in the day (handy when several places don’t, especially out of term time). It’s pleasingly ramshackle (a few less posters up than usual), dimly lit in the evening, and an older-style layout with divides creating almost, but not quite, booths. Couple of pool tables in the back room, and then beyond there is a large pub garden, with plenty of space for summertime drinking (which sadly seems an age away at the moment). IPA on tap, and the usual selection of identilagers. Can get very busy later in the evening, but earlier on for a Friday night meet-up and beer it is very acceptable.

The Star, 21 Rectory Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1BU. Telephone: 01865 248011
Wi-fi: None found

Museum and Rock

Chilled weekend, had a walk into town, followed the city wall round a bit, and wandered through some of the more quiet streets to find our wafer to the Ashmolean museum. Looked around there, took a few photos:

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Then on for a pint at the newly reopened Gloucester Arms, which was a bit barren as they’ve just taken over, but was still very rock, and was starting to fill up nicely when we went home for dinner.

Took it very easy on Sunday, feeling nice and relaxed now.

Whatever “it” is, whatever “it” isn’t will hurt Evan Bourne

I happen to believe that Evan Bourne is one of the top new prospects on WWE Raw at the moment. I love a good high-flyer, and he is about as spectacular as you are going to get in the WWE at the moment. He’s had a good mini-feud with Kane to get him known to the fans, and once he is over his injury, what he needs is a nice set of matches with a mid-card wrestler with some similar skills to build on that. What he didn’t need was the attack on him this week by Mike Knox.

Knox is one of those classic Vince signings, a huge man that has the right look, but without anything else to make him appeal to fans in any way. He’ll get a push for a while, not attract much interest, then fade away for a year or so until Vince remembers that he is paying him, and will be released to little protest. He simply does not have “it”.

So Bourne finds himself moving from a feud with a big man where he is the clear underdog, to a feud with a big man where he is the clear underdog. Except this time it is with someone really lacking the appeal of Kane. This will only serve to damage his development in the long run.

New series of Flight of the Conchords coming soon!

Today brought some great news, a new series of Flight of the Conchords will be on HBO in January. This is the trailer:

I don’t yet know when it will be on the BBC, hopefully not too long afterwards. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is shown on BBC4 every so often, or you could always try the DVD: Flight Of The Conchords: The Complete HBO First Season. If you have and you’re already a fan, you might want to try their CD of songs from the first series: Flight Of The Conchords album.

If you need a little more convicing, give this a go:

How Google Notebook can help with your Christmas shopping

As well as search, Google Reader, and Gmail, there is one other Google product I’ll use every day, and that is Google Notebook. It works so well for me for making todo lists, storing links and information, and sharing with other people. You need a Google account to use it, and once set up you’re able to create multiple notebooks for whatever you want. It is worth also installing the Google Notebook Firefox extension, as that then gives right-click access to store links instantly, and a popup mini-version of your notebooks in the bottom-right corner of the page you’re on.

How will this help with your Christmas shopping though? Well, let me explain:

1. Making your Christmas shopping list

As you search online for potential presents across several sites, simply add the page for each possible item to a notebook just for presents. Make notes and comments on those links, compare the prices and ideas, drag and drop them order of which are the best. If you have a lot of presents to buy, you might even want a notebook for each person. Add text notes in the same list as well, reminders or a list of what you have to find. I’m also doing a todo list in one of my notebooks which is my Christmas card list, reminding my wife and I of who we have to send cards to (more on that shortly).

2. What about my presents?

Wish lists have been around for many years now, Amazon being perhaps the best and most well-known example. How do you create a wish list for several online shops though? Well, as above, add all the items you’ve found to a notebook.

When your list is bulging with goodies, go to sharing options for that notebook. Say yes to making the notebook a public web page and save. You’ve now got a page that you can send to your friends and family to let them know what you would like for Christmas. In the top-right of your notebook it will now show as published, with a link to view that page. Do note however that this is a public page that anyone can see.

You can add, change or remove notes from within your notebook, and your public wish list will be automatically updated.

3. Organise Christmas together

If you go back to the sharing options, you can also invite other people to collaborate and use the same notebook. Do this if you don’t want to make your list public to anyone. In this case, anyone you invite can edit and add to the notebook in the same way you can. I’m using this option to plan Christmas with my wife. We’ve got our todo list, a list of presents we need to buy for our collective family and friends, and our Christmas card list. Obviously I’ve also got a separate private notebook for presents I might get her too.

So there you are, a few simple ways to use Google Notebook to help get ready for Christmas. It is a wonderful little tool for all sorts of planning tasks, and it is nice and easy to get even newcomers used to using it.

Idle thoughts

  • Am feeling happier and happier to be back using iTunes, after a couple of years using Amarok in Linux. Just find it that slight bit more searchable, and it hooks up with the iPhone a treat, just finding and listening to a lot of different things, both in terms of podcasts and music.
  • New Xbox Live is, err, live. I’ve actually had it a week or so, managed to slip onto the final beta that Xbox podcaster Major Nelson launched. It’s very pretty, definitely better looking than the previous interface. Have yet to use it to play with friends, hope to do that soon.
  • Going to try and nip into the Ashmolean museum this weekend, catch it before it closes for a year for a major refurb. Have found out I can take photos there (no flash though), so will try and get lots of images of how it was before, and hopefully after in a year’s time.
  • Need to make more time for reading. I’ve slunk down to almost zero reading of books at the moment apart from on hols and long journeys, must change this.

Goodbye Carling Academy/The Zodiac/The Venue, welcome the O2 Academy

Yes, it’s been nearly a year since the Zodiac on the Cowley Road became the Carling Academy, so Oxford’s main music venue was clearly long overdue another name change. It will now be the O2 Academy. Apparently as an iPhone user on O2, I’ll get priority booking for tickets (I only ever remember to buy tickets for gigs weeks after they’ve been announced, so this will be of little benefit). I am hoping however they will have powerful free wi-fi for me to use when I’m waiting for a bus nearby. Oh, and that they’ll get rid of the Carling only policy for lager on tap.

Now it’s the O2 Academy (From The Oxford Times)